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Why you may be seeing less baby photos on Facebook

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There was a time when all you saw on your Facebook timeline was baby photos and milestone updates about your friend's little ones. However, now more parents are deciding not to publicize their kid's information and are not sharing their baby with social media sites.

Privacy and safety concerns are causing parents to refrain from sharing every status update about their child on Facebook. Some worry what companies will do with their child's photos and personal information.

Even though parents post their own photos and personal milestones on Facebook, they are more aware that companies "have not been very transparent about the way they collect data about users," editor at Common Sense Media, which studies children's use of technology, Caroline Knorr says.

Many people do not read Facebook's terms of service, and its privacy policy has frequently changed, resulting in more protective parents wanting control over their online information. Parents can use Facebook's privacy settings so that only family and close friends can see pictures of their children. But some parents think that is not enough.

 "If I don't want somebody to know about my child, to take an active interest in them, to recognize them in a city street or as they are leaving the schoolyard, the easiest way to do that is to not have any identifying information out about them," says St. Louis-based business and technology consultant, Scott Steinberg, who has more than 4,800 Facebook friends.

Other parents want to give their child the opportunity to have a say in what they want to share with social media.  Since some children might not want every moment of their childhood chronicled on the Internet.

But many parents still have no problem sharing their babies with social media. According to a 2011 survey from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, 66 percent of Generation X parents (who were born in the '60s and '70s) said they post photos of their children online. More than half of these parents said they also have shared news about their kid's accomplishments online.

"Back (then) there wasn't a lot of conversation about this," says Aisha Sultan, a fellow at the institute at the time of the survey. "When parents first started joining Facebook in large numbers it wasn't the primary concern. We felt like we were in control of information we were sharing with friends and family."

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