Kristina has a huge extended family with “many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.” So when she had her baby, Maya, the young mom started an Instagram account so even the farthest-flung relatives could watch Maya grow up.
Sharing photos in one place saved Kristina the hassle of having to “individually send out photos.”
However, when one day Maya’s followers were tagging her account to an edited image of her baby, Kristina discovered a disturbing social media trend.
When an Instagram account called @urheavenly posted an edited image of baby Maya, followers were asked to vote on which image was prettier.
Kristina explained to Dearly that while Maya’s photos hadn’t been edited up until recently, they had been used on “several other baby-centered pages,” always crediting the original account. However, an edited comparison photo was entirely different.Instagram
Kristina explained that while she does “not necessarily mind the edits,” as they can be “intriguing and viewed like cartoons,” she is frustrated when “pages ask viewers to vote on ‘which one is prettier.'” She said:
It is unrealistic and silly to compare artificial edits to real life. I have mainly only seen baby/toddler girl eye edits popping up — these type of comparisons contributes to the self-esteem issues we see plaguing many young girls today.
I’m SICK of seeing people edit pictures of babies to what they believe social media will find “cuter”. She’s beautiful with her brown eyes! pic.twitter.com/rRzdZPyjcY
— Laila Loves (@Lailaloves) August 6, 2017
While Kristina understands that photo sharing is a part of Internet culture, she still makes sure to watermark her daughter’s photos to prevent others from stealing her photos. In addition to watermarking, there are further protective steps parents can take to prevent photo theft online.
Internet Matters recommends that parents apply the correct privacy settings. On platforms such as Instagram, users have the option to make their account private, meaning only those that are approved are allowed to view posted photos.
However, if you opt for a public account, it is imperative to not share personal information. Kristina’s account is public, meaning anyone can view her photos, however, aside from images, she doesn’t share any personal information about her or her family.
If you’ve posted an image of your child from their first prenatal scan to their first day at nursery, it’s important to consider how this will affect them in the future. As they get older seek their permission before posting.
At the end of the day, however, Kristina says that “people want attention and social media validation.”
So before you post, consider all the risks and factors that accompany social media.
For more Internet safety tips, visit the Internet Matters website.