Can I Post Your Pic? Posting Pictures of Kids on Social Media

A few weeks ago on my favorite podcast (hey, Armchair Expert!) I heard Busy Philipps explain the social media policy she uses with her pre-teen/teenage daughters. Busy gets her daughters’ permission before posting any pictures of them on social media websites. The rationale behind the decision is to illustrate to her daughters that they are in charge of their own bodies–what they wear, what they like and don’t like, what they want and don’t want–including the pictures that are posted on social media.

Permission & Consent

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to remember to ask my kids’ permission before posting any pictures of them on social media. It’s been hard–I forget, a lot. Sometimes my kids remind me, sometimes they forget, too. But, forgetfulness aside, we’ve already had some pretty insightful discussions around me asking permission to post their picture on social media.

Some discussions I’ve been happy to have with my kids. (Why are you asking if you can post my picture? Should I ask my friends before I post pictures of them? Should my friends ask me before they post pictures of me?). These have served as great opportunities for me to talk to my kids about safe, healthy, mutually respectful relationship, as well as my expectations for their own social media use.

Selfies & Self-esteem

Other conversations have been harder–I’ve wanted to get on my self-love soapbox and fall down the self-confidence rabbit hole. (Actually mom, could you retake that? I don’t like the way my ________ looked in that picture.) But I try to remember that I don’t post pictures I don’t like of myself on my social media page. I retake selfies with my kids because I didn’t get my good side. I don’t love having a picture of me on social media that I don’t love. These things make me human–not bad or someone with a poor self-image–so why would it mean anything different for my kids?

I curate the life I want to show on social media. I decide how much of my life and myself I want to share with the virtual world. These are privileges I give myself. I’m so thankful that I heard how one mother attempts to share these privileges with her children, too.

What are your thoughts about getting permission to post pictures of your kids to social media?


Kate is the mom to Jack (2006), Liz (2007), and Alice (2011) and an avid Cubs fan through marriage. She's an assistant professor of mathematics and STEM education at St. Ambrose University and also moonlights as a mathematics teacher at South East Junior High in Iowa City. Between soccer, running club, tumbling, and piano lessons she likes to cook, run, and do yoga. She's also a sucker for 5Ks with cool swag and awesome medals.


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