Privacy please! Danielle Fishel has explained why she and her husband, Jensen Karp, are hiding their 4-month-old son Adler's face on social media — and it's a decision many non-famous parents are making as well.
"We are two people who made a conscious choice to be in the pubic eye and share what would normally be private moments with the public," Fishel, 38, began in an Instagram post this week. "Adler isn't capable of making that choice for himself and until he is, we've decided to shield him from places where strangers can comment on him."
The "Boy Meets World"/"Girl Meets World" alum stressed that it wasn't an easy decision.
“The truth is, choosing not to post pictures of him kinda sucks. I wanna show you my baby every day,” Fishel admitted. “But I worry about a couple things. 1. His safety. There are weirdos out there. Enough said. 2. Putting pictures and facts about him onto the internet that he doesn’t have any say in.”
Be like Chrissy Teigen... or Kristen Bell?
“It makes me think I can/should do the same thing,” Fishel revealed. But in the end, she decided to take a page from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd. Though the couple share photos of their daughters Lincoln, 6, and Delta, 4, their faces are always partially obstructed.
Even non-celebrity parents are taking similar precautions these days. Dr. Jasmin Kastner, a scientist living in Philadelphia, stamps an emoji on her 18-month-old daughter's photos before sharing, just like Fishel. “There are a lot of weird, disgusting people out there,” Kastner, 32, told TODAY Parents. “As soon as your photos are online, you’ve lost control. I don’t want strangers having access to my child’s life.”
Kastner, who is from Austria, says none of her mom friends back home or in surrounding countries show their kids’ faces. “It’s a cultural difference,” she said. “You just don’t post your child looking directly at the camera.”
How to handle kids on social media
Though there is no one right way to approach children and social media, Dr. Devorah Heitner, who has written at length about the topic, believes it’s a good idea to starting asking kids for their permission at around age 5.
“As moms and dads we need to make sure that our kids trust us to protect their privacy,” the "Screenwise" author told TODAY Parents. “They shouldn’t feel like there’s a paparazzi following them around their house and they’re not safe to be silly or have bad hair.”
By asking if it’s OK, we are also teaching about consent. “That’s very important,” Heitner said. “We are reminding them that they have a right to say ’No.'"
Parents of middle schoolers should be especially cautious, according to Heitner. “A 9 or 10-year-old is going to feel embarrassed," she told TODAY Parents. “They want to be seen as an athlete or an artist. The last thing they want is to read comments like, ‘Oh, he’s so cute.”
Meanwhile, Fishel is continuing to grapple with these issues and said there's a chance she and Adler will give fans a peek at their adorable baby at some point.
As Fishel wrote on Instagram, “Maybe we will allow someone to have pictures of him once and then keep him private from then on? idk.”