TechTrend: Why do kids care if we post pictures of them?

Posted on 18. Mar, 2016 by in For Parents, For Teachers


March 18, 2016

by Lynette Owens

Each week in our TechTrend post, we’ll be discussing a current issue, app, news story, or other online trend that is worth some attention and discussion.

For this week’s TechTrend, we’re exploring the question: “Why do kids care if we post pictures of them?” In an article titled “Kids to Parents: Stop Sharing Pictures of Us on Social Media,” TIME recently explored this exact issue and noted that kids often feel embarrassed and frustrated by their parents publicly posting about them online without their permission.

It turns out, kids do care about and want their privacy, especially in the context of their social lives.  According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 65% of teens believe you can’t be too careful when it comes to trusting people online. Another study by found that 70% of teens have sought out advice on managing their online privacy.  It comes as no surprise that kids care a lot about their reputations and are finding ways to manage their privacy to protect them, such as using privacy settings, unfriending people, removing things they’ve posted, and using sites and apps that their parents aren’t using.

The disconnect is that while parents express the same concerns about reputation and privacy for their kids, they sometimes create rules for them that they themselves break.  It’s hard to preach what you don’t practice; it’s even harder to take back something once it’s online.  If your kids actually care about their reputations and privacy and want to be empowered to manage their online life, then why not support them by respecting that?

A good starting point for families is to have conversations about privacy and what it actually means.  Below are some questions that can you can use to find a common understanding with your kids about what privacy is and how best to protect and respect it:

  • What do you consider to be private?
  • How would you protect your own privacy?
  • What would you do if someone didn’t respect yours?
  • How will you respect someone else’s?
  • How will you make sure others will respect your privacy and the privacy of others?

As a general rule, it’s important to always think twice before posting –not just about yourself but about others, whether they are your own kids or anyone else (especially someone else’s kids!).   It’s equally important that you and your kids have a good understanding about the value you place on privacy.  A good place to start is by talking about it, at the dinner table, in your neighborhoods, and in your communities.

Beyond that, let’s set the example by acting as we hope they will and think twice before hitting “share”. As funny or adorable as you think they look, maybe that pic isn’t worth sharing to the masses after all.

Have you ever had an experience when someone asked you to remove a photo, comment or status update that mentioned them on social media?

Let us know in the comments below or feel free to engage with us on social media by tweet @TrendISKF!

Lynette Owens is the Founder and Global Director of Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families program.  With 20+ years in the tech industry, Lynette speaks and blogs regularly on how to help kids become great digital citizens.  She works with communities and 1:1 school districts across the U.S. and around the world to support digital literacy and citizenship education.  She is a board member of the National Association of Media Literacy Education and SPARK Kindness, and serves on the advisory boards of INHOPE and U.S. Safer Internet Day.

Follow her on Twitter @lynettetowens


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