The images you post of your family on social media may reveal more about you than you think. (Photo: Getty Images)
We all have at least one of those friends, whose rosy-cheeked, grinning family candids on Facebook look ripped from a Mini Boden catalog minus the accessory puppy. I’d venture to say that we also all know someone who shares photos of her kids, no matter what they look like, every day, all day long.
One in three people, in fact, say that the only reason they take pictures in the first place is to post them on social media, according to a survey by Instagram photo printing site Kanvess. Of the 1,000 respondents, more than 50 percent believe it’s important for others to observe their daily lives through images, reports the UK’s Daily Mail. But among all the images shared, one type of photo beat out the typical shots of pets and friends for title of most shared: Family photos.
The style of family photo that you post on social media doesn’t just tell others what you want them to think about you and your family, though, it reveals what your parenting style really is. “We are visual animals and unconsciously try to ‘figure out’ others using visual cues,” image consultant Carol Davidson of StyleWorks of Union Square Inc. tells Yahoo Parenting. Here’s what typical family photos actually indicate about you and yours.
The perfectly polished and posed shot
Just as you’d expect, this type of picture tells the world that you want them to know, “I was able to create this beautiful family and my kids are always well behaved,” Sylvie Di Giusto of Executive Image Consulting, tells Yahoo Parenting. It also suggests that you are only interested in creating a positive spin around yourself. The image consultant recommends that her corporate clients consider the “Triple M Rule” when displaying photos in their offices. “Only show things that you’d be happy for your mom, manager, and minister to see.” It also indicates that you have respect for your children, she adds. “If your son or daughter saw this in 20 years they won’t be embarrassed.”
The messy kids, laughing all together shot
“This picture suggests that the parents have a relaxed parenting style,” Davidson offers as a best-case scenario. Worst case? “It may suggest that they are not paying attention to the details — or to their children.” There’s nothing wrong with posting one photo of a messy kid, adds Di Giusto, “But if you do it again and again, you make that your story.”
The silly shots with parents acting like kids alongside children
This one is as straightforward as they come, according to Davidson. “It suggests that the parents are fun-loving, easy-going and encourage laughter, and enjoy a good time,” she says. What others observing it take away, she says, is that “these people like to let their hair down.”
The selfie with your kids as photobombers
Selfish, levels Davidson. “This may suggest that the parent is more about the photo opp than engaging with their children.” Adds Di Giusto, “This type of photo reveals that you put yourself in the center of everything.”
The shots of kids caught in the act
Images of children nabbed doing something that they shouldn’t (think: coloring on walls, standing on a table, cutting a sibling’s hair) are a crowd pleaser, says Davidson. “And it suggests that you have a very human, real quality. These kind of images can even foster a feeling of camaraderie with other parents who see this photo. People enjoy seeing pictures like this.”