Thoughts On Setting Social Media Boundaries

By Noah Boonov

Like many young people, I have had my fair share of embarrassing photos posted online by a parent or family member. I begged and pleaded with my parents to remove certain photos, but despite my best efforts they remain public. Not too long ago, I was hit with a reverse scenario. I was looking through my Instagram posts with one of my parents. They shrieked in horror as a photo of us came onto the screen. My parent asked me why I would share such an unflattering photo of them and asked if I would remove it. I expressed to them that I thought it was a nice picture of us. I wanted to keep it up. We settled on letting it stay on my account, but the interaction brought an interesting conversation forward. 

The topic of digital consent when sharing photos and videos has been a focus of Family Bloglines. The typical family who uses social media isn’t always looking to achieve fame, or virality. These things happen when you least expect it. Yet the question still remains, can a child consent to their image being shared online? What happens when a parent begins to make money off family content creation? Many online sources, including our own, try to address this dilemma with parents and guardians who may participate in these practices or consume this content. When I began to speak with Dr. Fiona Green about this research, I started to wonder. Had I considered getting my own parents’ consent to share their images online? 

I believe setting boundaries could address this problem. By creating these boundaries, you and your loved one are building trust and avoiding oversharing. As a chronic over-sharer, I can think of a couple of times where something I posted was not agreed upon by a family member, nor was it necessary to share online. Not everyone wants their information open for discussion to the public. If there is a certain image, or images posted of yourself, speak up for yourself. Consent must go both ways, with both parties making an informed decision. Having these conversations is a great way to teach your child and yourself how to make clear boundaries and respect them.

Once, I made the mistake of sharing news about a loved one that I was unaware they didn’t want posted online. The feeling of breaching someone’s privacy ate me up inside. Now I prioritize asking before posting pictures online, whether it’s of my friends, coworkers, or family. Respecting their privacy is important, and this practice strengthened the bond I have with them. I extend an invitation to you and encourage you to prioritize digital consent with your loved ones.

Leave a Reply