How To Politely Tell People To NOT Post Photos Of Your Child Online

It can be an awkward conversation, but here's what to do.
A mother uses a smartphone to take a selfie of her birthday daughter and grandparents.
Michael H via Getty Images
A mother uses a smartphone to take a selfie of her birthday daughter and grandparents.

Although your child’s protection is your responsibility, it can be extremely awkward to tell someone not to post a picture of your child online.

With constant social media updates, people are always uploading where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing. But even if they have good intentions, posting your child’s photo without your permission should never be acceptable.

Trevor Cooke, online privacy expert at EarthWeb, explained why you shouldn’t post pictures of your kids online. He said that once you post a picture on social media it means you’ve granted that platform a licence to that picture. They can now use it how they like on their social media site.

A lot of parents feel uncomfortable sharing pictures of their kids, and though conversations can be difficult, there are ways to tell people you don’t want them to post your kids’ pictures.

How to tell friends and family not to post photos of your kids

Tech and IT expert Rob Phelps at Netzen has given tips on how to tell friends and family not to post pictures of your kids.

1. The earlier, the better

If you’re someone who does not want your kids’ face plastered over social media, let people know as soon as you decide.

There’s no point waiting until someone has posted a picture for you to have the conversation.

This might even mean telling them before your baby is born!

2. Explain why

Though it might be uncomfortable, you should try to explain exactly why you’ve made the decision to keep your children off social media.

“Explain your concerns about privacy and safety, and the loss of control over photos once they’ve been shared online. With AI advancing all the time, the photos shared online can be easily manipulated and ‘deepfaked’, creating a digital footprint that can live forever, without you or your child ever even knowing about it,” says Rob.

3. Be clear and direct

Be clear about whether you want no photos at all or if you’re okay with pictures being shared where the face is blurred. Being direct and giving them enough information will prevent misunderstandings.

“Avoid apologetic and vague language that can cause unnecessary discussions and debate about your choice – be clear and firm,” adds Rob.

What if they post photos without my permission?

Hopefully, you’ll only have to tell people once that you don’t want them to post photos, but some people may think the rules don’t apply to them.

So if this does happen, you need to stay calm.

Rob advises: “Talk to your friends privately to discuss the issue; avoid confronting them in the comment section, which will escalate the situation. Stay calm and be assertive; understand their excitement to share their joy about your new baby, but firmly remind them that you have requested they don’t share photos of your child online.”

You can also then request that they remove the photos immediately, and reiterate your reasons why and what led you to making this decision in the first place.

“If they apologise and remove them, acknowledge their co-operation, and thank them for respecting your wishes – but make sure they’re clear on your rules going forward.

“If they continue to resist, and refuse to take the photos down, consider contacting the site itself to get the photos removed.” comments the IT expert.

Finally, Rob says that even if just one person ignored your request, don’t be afraid to revisit the discussion with everyone.

Remind them why it’s important to you, to reiterate your perspective and the potential impact on your child, and your family.