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What To Do About Baby Photos on Social Media 

Digital Dilemmas: Answers to Questions About the Ever-Evolving Online World

Q: When my kids were babies, I shared tons of photos of them, some of which were embarrassing, on social media. But now that my older son is about to start school, he may make friends who will have access to these online archives. How can I help him keep the mystery, so to speak, and protect his privacy?

A: Now that your son is starting school, it's a great time to reevaluate what you post about him publicly. It's also a great time to get him involved in the process of what you post and who gets to see it.

Start by making sure any pictures of him you've already posted are private — visible only to you — or shared only with close family and friends. Many social networks will let you adjust these privacy settings. It's a good idea to move all your photos of your son into a new, more private album. As for those embarrassing pictures — which you might have thought were cute at the time — download them to your computer for your eyes only and delete them from the social network.

Next, sit down with your son and show him the new album you've created with his baby pictures. Let him know who can see them and ask him if he'd like any removed. Tell him that now that he is in school, you're going to ask his permission before you post anything about him. You can also let him know that if he wants to share anything with close family and friends online, you would be happy to post it for him.

This sets a foundation for your son to learn about asking permission before posting content and gives him a voice in what you share.

—Elaine Young is the author of Tuned-In Family: How to Cope, Communicate & Connect in a Digital World and is a professor at Champlain College, where she specializes in digital marketing and social media. Got a question? Send it to Elaine at
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