tricky criminal or civil penalties for parents. The first strains of what could turn into a campaign
like that have already manifested: there have been a handful of articles by parents advocating for
children’s anonymity and privacy online.
161 While many posts still focus on restraint in posting
about children as a means of protecting children from third parties,
162 some recognize that creating
an online image for their children may be inherently problematic because it takes away the child’s
right to choose whether they will have an online presence and what form it will take. One blogger
said that she attempts to paint an “abstract” picture of her daughter when she posts about her
163 She explains that she likes to make sure that she doesn’t share details that her child would
later not want shared, “because she’s a person and I think that’s something I have to remember a
lot… I don’t want her to feel hindered by the way I portrayed her on the Internet when she was a
164 Another online mom posed the question, “is it safe, or even ethical to publish something
about someone who can’t give their consent?”
One couple voluntarily assumed a role as trustees of their daughter’s online reputation after
recognizing that another couple that posted about their child frequently had essentially created “a
trove of data that will enable algorithms to learn about her over time. Any hopes Kate [name
changed] may have had for true anonymity ended with that ballet class You Tube channel.”
created what they called “a digital trust fund” by creating an email address, Facebook, Twitter,
and Instagram accounts, and registering a URL in their daughter’s name. 167 But they do not post
anything about her. When they determine she is sufficiently mature, they will give her access to
the accounts and “ensure that she’s making informed decisions about what’s appropriate to reveal
about herself, and to whom.”
168 This approach protects their daughter’s ability to create her own
reputation online; however, parents with similar mentalities appear to be few and far between.
The challenge of an educational campaign is multi-faceted. First, some experts believe that
sharing about our children online is an evolutionary trait, that “…we’re biologically wired to
promote our children, and the Internet and social media provides a convenient and effective way
to do this.”
169 Others argue that social media helps parents gain a sense of connectedness in the
struggles of parenthood.
170 One mother claimed that while she was not generally a blogger, she
161 See Kelly Wallace, ‘BatDad’ and Other Parents: To Post or Not to Post?, CNN (Oct. 7, 2014, 12:16 PM),
http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/07/living/parents-kids-online-privacy; Amy Webb, We Post Nothing About Our
Daughter Online, SLATE (Sep. 4, 2013, 5:30 AM),
_your_kids_online.html; Aisha Sultan & Jon Miller, ‘Facebook Parenting’ is Destroying Our Children’s Privacy,
CNN (May 25, 2012, 2:55 PM), http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/25/opinion/sultan-miller-facebook-parenting/.
162 See, e.g., Bethany Hardy, Do We Reveal Too Much About Our Kids Online?, PBS,
http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/article-revealing-too-much-about-kids-online.html (last visited Dec.
16, 2014). The article provides five tips for keeping children safe, including using privacy settings, being careful about
disclosing information through which a child’s identity could be stolen, not allowing children to create relationships
with strangers, being judicious about posting photos that identify the location where it was taken, and choosing hack-proof passwords).
165 Linda Geddes, Does Sharing Photos of Your Children on Facebook Put Them at Risk?, THE GUARDIAN (Sep. 21,