My Biggest Insta Fail. Ever.

That time I revealed far too much about my kids on the grid…

I love my children. I really do, and by gad they are gorgeous (not biased at all), but I don’t feature them on my Instagram or my Facebook pages. Correction: I do occasionally include them on my Instagram feed but I take great pains to obscure their faces with hats, mugs, tree branches etc. or I use cunning 3/4 shots so you can’t decipher their features. The thing is I just don’t want to put my kids out on the scary internet highway for several reasons. Number one is that I don’t want anyone to recognise them through the work I do. Not that I have gazillions of followers or that anyone would be particularly interested in my childerbeasts over any of the other millions of wide eyed chubby cheeked cherubs that I melt over on Instagram on a regular basis, it’s just that having worked on a weekly magazine for many years I have witnessed the crazies out there first hand and have had unwelcome attention from strange readers who wanted to ‘connect’ with me and I am very much once bitten, twice shy. I also had a couple of stalky experiences in my life as a teen (I am a weirdo magnet) so I am maybe even thrice shy. As much as I want to share and celebrate my kids on the small squares, my overriding thought is, why take the risk, even if it is infinitesimal, of making them in any way vulnerable to the crazies? My husband, who is less paranoid than me (or maybe more depending on your perspective) is also fiercely protective of their digital footprint. Any picture I put out there, he reminds me, will be there for all eternity and I will be taking away their right to anonymity and we have no idea who might get their hands on these pics of our kids…

Sometimes, when I take a gorgeous photo of the kids I am gutted that I can’t share it with the world and show everyone how totally gorgeous they are and then I remind myself that I just want that Instacoo fix and it’s in no way of benefit to them. I can just show the pictures to my mum and friends who actually know them and adore them, rather than sharing them with some friends yes, but also a load of strangers who might be very nice, but what about that weird marine from Texas who followed me last week and that guy with the ‘tache and the funny hairline who photographs hacksaws… did I remember to block them?

I have to confess, I followed the celebrity press privacy rule of only showing pictures of my son as a baby until he became a recognisable human and that I really did stretch that rule because I was enjoying sharing all those pics of him (parental pride is strong) and all the ensuing coos. I also allowed the kids to be featured in a couple of work related pictures before I toughened up on my resolve. As a parenting blogger it is very hard to tell brands who want to dress your kids and then of course feature them that they can’t show their faces. Showing your kids off is definitely advantageous for work…

I do understand that sharing pictures of children is a joyous, lovely thing and that on one level it is very sad that I am moderating my behaviour because of the potential behaviour of a very small minority of troubled people but personally, I feel much happier this way.

Anyway, so far so good. My decision to not show the kids’ faces has been working for me and I may have congratulated myself on my sensible and mature approach to parenting in the modern age… until the week I accidentally showed their private parts on Instagram. Twice.


Yes, that’s right you, read that correctly. Having spent years, hiding their sweet little faces with teddy bears and bonnets, I flashed their bits to the world not once but twice in a week. The face palm emoji is lacking here. The vomit emoji is also inadequate. Where is the projectile vomiting emoji when you need it? One genital on display in a week may be regarded as a misfortune,  but two… That’s just lunacy.

The first accidental flash came when I thought I would compile a lovely slide show of my son’s third birthday pressie pile and cards with his cute little hands reaching for them (ahhhh!) Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that I had accidentally tagged on four or five extra pictures of a birds eye view of his willy. He’d been sitting at the table naked from the waist down as we were in the peak potty training mode and as I snapped from above I got a several lovely shots of his todger. It was only 20 minutes or so later that I noticed what an epic slide show I’d posted and looked at the extra pics. NOOOO!!!! I almost broke my phone trying to press all the buttons to delete those pics. WHAT A SHOCKINGLY CRAP MUM! But I had learnt my lesson…

Cut to me switching my phone on in the hairdressers and seeing a funny message pop up from Instagram. Something along the lines of ‘You have contravened Instagram’s strict rules of what we consider appropriate imagery and we have deleted your previous post.’ Well, I was livid! What on earth could they mean? Where was my lovely picture of my kids playing in their garden camp made with sheets and cushions? The one that I had carefully shot with just their lower halves poking out of the canopy? Scrolling back into my library I found the picture and scoffed at it. What were they talking about?! What could possibly be offensive about this gorgeous childhood scene. But wait, looking again, I could see the white triangle of my cross legged daughter’s pants poking out of her skirt. Only,  THERE WERE NO PANTS. WTF?!?!?!? The photo was taken at about 3pm in the afternoon! Where were her pants?!!!! At 3pm?!!! At this point I am sweating and feeling SICK. Tip: Don’t tell the hairdresser that you’ve accidentally shared a picture of your daughter’s undercarriage on Instagram. They won’t understand. You will have your hair cut in silence from there on in.

The thing that really got me was that you really, really had to look closely to realise that she wasn’t wearing any pants so that meant that someone had zoomed in to check and had then instead of contacting me directly, reported me to Instagram! That meant it definitely had to be someone I didn’t know! And they thought I was depraved! But hang on, were they weird for zooming in? I was sick to the stomach on so many levels. Willies on Monday, Fannies on Friday?!!!!! What the hell kind of mother was I?

A few months on I have recovered from this harrowing ordeal and collected my world’s worst mother gong. I am now so traumatised that I don’t even want to post headless shots of my kids and I double treble check all images before posting. I don’t expect anyone else out there is as life challenged as me but this has been a learning curve I wanted to share. Post responsibly, there are people out there who zoom in and some kids like to randomly take their pants off in the day.

Any shared tales of Instagram fecklessness would be much appreciated at this point by the way.

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