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Facebook, Instagram, and Social

What should I do when other people post pictures of my child online without asking me first?

Sharing photos online has become such common practice that most people don't think twice before posting pictures of their kids -- and yours -- on social media sites. Unless the photo violates the social media site's terms of service, though, there's not a lot you can do to get the photo taken down. You can't, for example, call or email Facebook and request that the photo be deleted. Every family has different rules about posting kids' photos. Unfortunately, when people who see no issue with posting kids' photos post your kid's picture, it amounts to them making a decision to make your kid's image public, which can be frustrating. Don't assume everyone feels the same way about social media -- and don't approach this situation as if your rules are better than theirs. Just be honest that it makes you uncomfortable. The bottom line is: If you don't want pictures of your kids shared, it's up to you to let people know.

It can be tough to manage this situation without alienating friends, relatives, and even teachers who see nothing wrong with the practice. Here are some ways to approach others who post pictures of your kids that go against your wishes:

  • Simply, without judgment, ask the person who posted it to delete it, or crop it so your kid isn't in the picture (easy to do with today's image-editing tools). Say, "I'm not ready for this yet."
  • Ask the poster not to tag the photo with names -- and definitely not location. That will limit exposure.
  • Ask the poster what his or her privacy settings are. If their profile is private and not public, only their friends can view their images which limits the audience for your child's photo.
  • If you're OK with a photo but only want certain people to see it, ask the poster to enable settings that limit who can see the photo to a small circle.
  • Ask the poster to instead use a private photo-sharing site such as Picasa or Flickr that requires a log-in.
  • If you meet with resistance, explain that you're worried about your kid's privacy. Once a photo is online, anyone can share it. 


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Adult written by SStroh

A woman who was in my life briefly and by extension of her son whom I dated om and off for 6 maybe 7 months. This woman has refused to take any photos of my youngest child down. She will be 2 in October 2019, she does not belong to her son, she was 7 months old when we met. And almost 9 months when she was introduced to my exs mother and father. They immediately fell in love with her and wanted to baby sit. Purchased clothing, toys, a stroller, a pac n play, even diapers.. all after I allowed a one night visit, this was before any abuse even any signs of who their son was were shown. During that time she took photos I had actually expressed to her even then not to post. It became a very big argument, I felt she posted them to get as many likes and as much attention as she could. I did not know him or his family prior. The relationship was anything but a good memory, to put a long story short the trauma of the mental and physical abuse that escalated rapidly and created scars for my children that will never fade mentally even with the help we are getting. Police reports were filed, phone numbers changed, social media accounts blocked. I even moved from the home he had once stayed with me at shortly until the physical abuse happened and I got myself and kids away without telling him anything.. 2 weeks later he broke into my new home through a window in the middle of the night. State police handled the matter and I haven't heard from or seen him since. Yet his mother has several current photos of my child, all retrieved from mine or others accounts. Account settings changed by myself and my parents, my siblings and other family members. The scariest thing about these photos is the captions or comments she writes, either into reply or as a statement. Most notably "Thank you everyone she is getting so big but will always be my baby" and "We will see her again soon." Lastly photos have been reported, thus far Facebook has taken one down. My concern is way more than so many people that i dont know (most that she doesn't even know ) seeing my childs images, I feel like this woman is going to try to kidnap my child. Or at the very least is being stalked. I have never posted on any online forum like this before but I need answers here. I live in western Pennsylvania, I mention with hopes someone has even the knowledge of what the laws or how to proceed from this area.
Adult written by TrepidTechMom

As I began to navigate safe and thoughtful digital parenting after our firstborn, THIS exact Common Sense Media article was unbelievably helpful. It led me to find my "voice" when reaching out to loved ones about removing a photo of children. And your "bottom line" made me realize that, as parents and caregivers, if we do not share our wishes, no one will ever know.
Adult written by Gezza29

Hi can anyone help... one day last week I posted a picture of my 3 children (all boys) playing in our swimming pool. My children were all wearing appropriate swim wear. A few days later I learned that someone took a screenshot of the post an posted on another social media platform (whatsapp). I since confronted the person who did it and his excuse was he posted it in a whats app group to take the piss out of how uneven my garden was as the swimming pool was on a slight slope... I have since spoken to other people about the issue and iv been told that I was in the wrong for posting pictures of my children in the first place..
Adult written by MamaBear42018

Here's what you CAN do immediately if someone is posting photos of your kids without your permission to Facebook. You can fill out a form on the facebook help section and report the photo as an invasion of your child's privacy through this link: They can only take action for children under the age of 13, and it will prompt you to copy the link to the actual photo you are reporting. I am going through this with a few family members at this very moment, and have had to report multiple photos because I specifically asked them not to post any PUBLIC photos of my children, not in front of our home, and certainly not with identifiable house numbers or tags to locations. They will not respect our privacy concerns, so I've resorted to just reporting each photo as they insist on posting them. And... they get taken down.
Adult written by Sharky88

If they keep posting pictures of your children on Facebook without your permission seems like harassment. The law doesn’t by chance step in when this happens? Asking because I have a family member that I have to get onto about it. I feel as parents we should have the right to take legal action when someone keeps doing that. Also that is definitely a big violation they are posting pictures of your children in front of your house! Predators are all over the internet looking for stuff like that! Definitely not safe!
Parent written by Hunnylovez

Hello? I'm new to this site.. I do have a question. If you don't want other people posting pictures of your child, can you go to court and have a judge do a court order, indicating that any one will not post any pictures of your child till she nor he reaches the age of 18? And if they do, they will be pay a fine??
Parent written by Lovelylady89

Can the police keep a picture of minors up on there facebook page? It was only supposed to be used to help finding out who they where.
Parent written by Velium

Bit of an old post but wanted to comment as it ranks quite high on search results. Facebook have a specific process to have a picture of your child removed (I am not sure about other social media sites).
Adult written by mike m.

FYI im an adult the law will not help you unless the picture is an invasion of your privacy. So if you are at a outdoor concert or indoor it is fine for anyone to take a picture of you as long as the management of the facility of the indoor event does not forbid it. Some do some times and sometimes not it is your responsibility to know. Only one state in the US that i am aware of considers it a crime to take photos of children at any place or event. So if someone snaps a picture of your kid while skateboarding at a public park don't get mad it will do no good. Be kind and simply as the person that you would like the photo of yourself deleted. Typically if they are reasonable they will. Now i can’t say this across the board but given that most adults are kind people and people like to be liked. If asked nicely they will do it most likely. If you threaten them they are more likely to not only not delete it but post it to a social media site and might caption it Jerk or something unkind. So know the law don't tell folks you’re going to call the cops that is not a threat that they will take seriously. If you’re at the beach and you decide to wash off the sand by taking off something i suggest that you go neck deep so that no one can take a picture of you or lying down in neck deep water might work sitting anything that will not expose you to getting a photo taken. Hope this helps
Parent of a 4, 8, and 15 year old written by Kristen H.

I have three children.... ages, 15, 8, and 4. There are a few very specific and personal reasons I don't want photos of my kids on social media/internet without my permission and on anyone else's profile besides mine- I set my privacy, I don't geotag my photos,or check in-- and I'm responsible for verifying these protections, I can't trust other people to be as diligent with their own practices (simply for my kids' sake)... So, my has to be no posting photos of my kids; ask first. Of course, the issue has come up and has caused problems.... 1st problem began in 2009 with my 15 year old. Her stepmother was posting photos of her, checked in, and geotagged. Surprisingly, knowing the "personal reasons" why I wasn't having it- she stopped! Great! Fast-forward to 2016, my husband and I seperated.... he began dating a woman with teenaged kids. Not a problem, I liked her very much and so did our children. I asked my husband to please make sure she (or her teens) are not posting photos on social media- he hear me and promised it wouldn't happen! Few weeks layer, on my news feed for FB, I see my two babies!!! Photos on the gf's FB, and her 4 kids' FB feeds too!! I was furious, at first. But knowing my husband, I could wage a bet he never passed along my request and reasons. One easy conversation between mothers clarified the entire ordeal and the photos were removed! Advice: Don't get angry 1st... COMMUNICATE 1st. If that don't work, hey I'm still a mom... so, go ahead get pissed!
Teen, 13 years old written by Natalie_Grace_1112

just ask them to take it down if its really bothering you. If its like a nice cute pic then I don't know why that would be a big deal, but if it is a bad or inappropriate pic just ask them to take it down. If they say no you can report the pic and have the site take it down
Teen, 14 years old written by IKnowKidsTheBest

It is up to you! You can politely ask them to take it down or ignore it completely. If they do not take it down when you want them too threaten to alert the authorities.
Kid, 11 years old

Ask them to take it down . If they refuse contact the local authorities . It is illegal to post pictures of someone without them or the parents permission
Adult written by Ed P.

It actually isn't illegal at all. If you're in a public space, any one can legally take your photo. They can use it online legally in many ways as well. What they cannot do is use the photo for commercial activities (advertising, etc. )