We all know that preschoolers are simply the cutest beings on the planet. When they are enjoying worship, doing the motions of the memory verse, creating toilet paper roll sheep or finger painting in shaving cream, we want to share their cuteness with parents, friends and the rest of the world! The easiest way to do that today is by sharing on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a host of other social media venues give us easy options to share pictures almost instantaneously.
Before you share pictures of your sweet preschoolers, make sure you have permission to do so.
Many parents love to share what their little ones are learning. On the other hand, some parents are very intentional about not leaving a digital footprint of their children when they are so young. There are steps we can take to ensure that our preschoolers are safe and that their parents are happy with how we handle their pictures.
Most of the caution in posting pictures will be from a parent’s personal preference, not a legal obligation. However, there are some situations that require careful handling of photographs. Custody disputes and domestic violence situations are examples where, due to the private nature of the situation, the volunteers in the room may not even be aware of what is going on in these families. The preschool director should be aware of how pictures of a class are being used, so she can avoid any problem privately and discreetly.
Similarly, pictures of foster children should not be shared online. While laws vary from state to state, it’s simply a wise choice to let parents in these families decide what will be posted publicly and where. Pictures from the day can be sent by text to the parents so they can see their child making the day’s craft or singing with his friends, all while being kept within the parameters they have set.
Here are some basic guidelines for setting a photo-sharing policy:
–Many churches will include a “Photo Release” statement in their registration form that parents complete the first time their child is brought to class. This explains that pictures may be taken during class for promotional purposes and it offers families the ability to request their child not be included in those pictures. Often, name tags will be marked with an identifying symbol so care is taken to not include that child in pictures. (If you subscribe to Weekly, you can go to “More Stuff” on the Parent Cue side and look in the “Family Welcome Kit” for a contributor release form.)
–As you are taking pictures of your preschoolers during class, take those from behind the group, so you can catch the fun, but not show face of any specific child. Overhead shots looking down into a circle of children working on an activity are a good way to show what the preschoolers were doing that day. These pictures may capture their hands and the fun without showing the faces of those participating.
–Using a closed Facebook page or password protected web site that is accessible only to parents is another way to share with families what their preschoolers enjoyed doing during class time. Prior to posting here, invite parents to join the group, then add pictures of their children.
Internet safety with preschoolers is important and far less random that we sometimes believe. Those who might have ill intentions are less likely to be lurking on line than they are to be lurking in your classrooms and hallways. Most adults who misuse pictures are not strangers to children they photograph. For that reason, it is imperative that you always screen your volunteers, have up-to-date background checks on all who serve with your preschoolers and always know who is taking pictures of your children during class time and what they intend to do with those pictures.
Take the time to get the permission necessary to share, then spread all the joy and cuteness you can!