There's no denying we live in the digital age, and while most of us came to it later in life, our kiddos are growing up online. They don't even need to have their own online presence to leave a digital footprint. Lots and lots of parents (ourselves included) share bits and pieces of our kids online with friends and relatives. Stories, anecdotes, milestones, and of course, lots of pictures. We complain about the internet and social media sometimes, but we are incredibly thankful for the way it's allowed us to stay connected to family and friends near and far, and connect with other we never would have met in real life.
But while parents may be 100% comfortable posting pictures of their own kids online, the area gets a little murkier when it comes to posting pictures of other people's children (or people posting pictures of your children). We try to control our own internet circle as much as possible with security settings and who we allow into it through friending. But we have less control when it comes to what other people share.
Every parent is different when it comes to what they are comfortable sharing about their kids online. For some parents, anything goes. Others try to limit the exposure, but not using real names and locations, or not sharing pictures where their child's face is visible. And then there are parents who don't share any photos of their children online. Once something is put on the internet, we have very little control over what happens to it. That's a risk many parents are willing to take, and one other parents are not.
Before posting a photo of your child that shows other children's faces, be cognizant of the fact that you are sharing identifying information about a child that is not yours. Even if it's a friend or family member's child, it's always a good idea to check with them before you share! If they're not comfortable with the idea of you sharing a picture of your child, no matter how cute it is, respect their wishes and edit the other child out or find a different photo to share.
If someone has shared a photo of your child without your express permission, and you are not comfortable with it, there are some steps you can take. The easiest thing to do would be to ask the person to take the picture down, or conceal your child's face and remove any location tagging on the photo (as a general rule, you shouldn't be tagging photos of your children by location, anyway). Inquire about the poster's privacy and security settings, and if you're fine with them sharing but want to limit the audience, ask them to customize the sharing settings on that particular photo. Explain that you're concerned about your child's privacy.
It's something that all parents should relate to in one way or another.