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ParentingSome Momfluencers Are Now Censoring Their Kids Online

Some Momfluencers Are Now Censoring Their Kids Online

On social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, mom influencers regularly share images of their children. Some moms share tips and inspiration, speaking about the joys and struggles of motherhood as
well as the postpartum journey—it’s more colloquially known as “sharenting.”

Recently, however, it’s become more commonplace for some momfluencers to not show their kids at all. While some disguise their kids’ faces, a majority of momfluencers do still share their family in an often raw and open manner.

Chloe O’Doherty, a photographer and thrifting influencer, prioritizes her relationship with her children
when making the decision not to share their faces online. She believes that the story of their
childhood is theirs to tell and would love to see their version of who they would like to take

“But, she says, I never say never,” O’Doherty tells Motherly. “My daughter is seven now, and I am hoping that when she is a teenager, she will be able to choose what she wants to share and how she would
like to share it. Going out into the garden and taking photos is a bonding session, and she does
enjoy Instagram. It’s just that children can’t consent to having photos online.”

As a photographer, O’Doherty is hoping that as her children grow older, they can navigate the
decision of what and how much is shared. She said that the photos she takes of her children are
now more creative, and it can be harder to get a good shot. Sharing without showing her
children’s faces hasn’t impacted her following at all.

Popular TikTok account Mom Uncharted is dedicated to “sharenting” and helping parents understand why over-sharing about their kids online can be dangerous.

Moms love looking at other moms online, and it can be a relief to share the postpartum
journeys, the midnight anxieties, and the joys, but what does this mean for the children? Chloe
says her first understanding came from a parent who adopted or fostered children and wanted
to share her experiences without exposing her children. Other parents have mentioned that their
kids have been recognized in shops or on the beach.

Teen Vogue recently shared an article telling of older kids struggling with their parents sharing
their photos or images online. Without adults enjoying the content shared, these moms wouldn’t
have had an audience, and yet it wasn’t what they wanted or the stories they wished to tell.
Sadly, parents and children have suffered damaged relationships through social media over-

The article featured commentary from Cam, 24, who goes by softscorpio on TikTok. Cam shares videos about the need for protection of minors in regard to their parents’ social media content. Cam’s mom was an early “momfluencer” years ago, and regularly posted intimate stories, photos, and facts about her children to more than 10,000 followers.

They recently testified in favor of Washington state’s House Bill 1627, which aims to protect children of influencers, including granting them the right to “request permanent deletion of their likenesses, names, or photos.” 

In Cam’s video testimony, they said: “I plead [with] you to be the voice of this generation of children because I know firsthand what it’s like to not have a choice in which a digital footprint you didn’t create follows you around for the rest of your life.”

Should moms still share photos and videos of their kids online?

As writers, photographers, and creators, what should moms share? The answer is always going
to be complex. A.A. Milne is a beloved storyteller and the creator of Winnie the Pooh, but his
son, Christopher Robin, believes his childhood has been exploited in the telling of stories. As
parents, our stories merge with those of our children, and we are part of a wider social network
that supports and shares. Sharing and creating are art forms that offer fulfillment to moms.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics currently has guidelines for parents to monitor their children’s social media use, there are no guidelines for the other way around.

InternetMatters.org has the following guidelines and tips in place when it comes to “sharenting”:

  • Review privacy settings on your social media accounts
  • Check your network of friends
  • Remember profile pictures are public
  • Get permission if photos/videos feature other kids
  • Manage your child’s digital footprint

The question remains, what and how much are we willing to share about our children’s lives, and do we know who is paying attention?

As Chloe says, children can’t consent, even if they might agree to their photos being shared. As one parent puts it, if I wouldn’t be willing to show a stranger in a coffee shop an image, I won’t show it

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