What to do if your friends and family don’t respect your wish for privacy.

By Masada Siegel
December 04, 2017

My little guy and I had just come home from a birthday party, when I glanced at my phone and saw super cute-photos of the two of us shared all over Facebook. I didn’t know what to say. The friend who posted the pictures is generally really thoughtful, but she knows my personal policy is that I don't post photos of my son on social media unless you can’t see his face. My reasons range from safety concerns to being considerate of my friends who have shared their infertility struggles with me—I know seeing photos of cute kids all over social media only exacerbates their pain.

I knew my girlfriend was most likely posting party photos of all the kids, to share the joy with all the parents, and she just forgot how I feel. I had a dilemma on my hands and wasn’t sure what to do. Should I say something and risk annoying her and having her think I’m self-absorbed, that I think everything revolves around me and my kid—even thought it was her child’s birthday party—or do I say nothing?

Navigating the world of social media etiquette is a work in progress, as the platforms change daily and rules are nonexistent. While I want to keep my child off social media, I also want to keep my friends, and not make a huge deal about every little post.

It’s a question I have been grappling with and when I recently wrote about why I don’t post photos of my little boy, I found I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. Many Real Simple readers had the same questions on how to delicately handle situations like this one. So I reached out to Scott Steinberg, author of Parenting High-Tech Kids, to get some answers. Here are his tips.

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