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Should I put pictures of my kids on Facebook?

Answered November 14, 2011

Pictures of your kids on Facebook (mp3)

Millions of people put pictures of their kids on Facebook without a second thought. It is, after all, a very convenient way of showing off your growing kids to friends and family members without having to do a lot of work.

But there are some very good reasons why you might want to think twice about putting *any* family snapshots on Facebook.

#1: If you have 300, 400, or even 500 friends on Facebook, let's be honest: You probably don't know more than 100 of them *really* well. Those others? Well, it simply may be worth considering whether you'd let that person you met at a Halloween party three years ago drop by your house and leaf through your family photo album. There are creeps and weirdos out there -- and some may even have slipped into your list of Facebook friends -- and they simply don't need to be given extra access to your kids.

#2: Even if you use privacy controls to limit the friends who get to see those family pictures, Facebook has been wildly inconsistent about the way it applies those privacy controls. Many of the most important ones have changed with little or no advance notice and almost nothing in the way of useful explanation to you, the user. Picking and choosing family and friends to send pictures by e-mail may be slower and more tedious, but it'll force you to think more carefully about who gets to see your family memories.

#3: Even in a perfect world where everyone on Facebook could be trusted completely, there's still the matter of Facebook's policies on intellectual property. To quote straight from item #2 in their terms and conditions: "you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook". In other words, if you post a picture -- ANY picture -- they can sell it to anyone anywhere in the world, anytime, without your approval, and you don't get a dime for it in return. That's worth considering, unless you don't care if your kid ends up becoming a poster child for baby food in Norway.

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