At the dawn of the Facebook era, it was solely a community of college students writing on each other’s Wall, posting photo albums of vacations, and pondering the art of a perfectly curated status update. Fast forward a few years, and now everyone is on Facebook. It’s no longer former high school friends… today we share pictures of our children, cats, and unsolicited political opinions. I’m not here to lament the loss of simpler times or cause a wave of paranoia, but I do want to be wise in the current culture when it concerns who is able to see my children.
I recently saw an article about a mom who found her children’s pictures on adult websites and it caused me to reconsider sharing my children’s pictures on the Internet. While I am diligent to privatize my accounts, not all of my family members are. I understand that they are innocently sharing pictures of my kiddos, but we’ve had to educate them on the risks involved.
There are countless articles on the Internet detailing ways to monitor your child’s social media usage, but regarding parents’ social media usage, resources are scant. When it comes to my family, here are the social media boundaries we have enlisted:
- No sharing without our permission.
- No sharing pictures of our children unless they’re fully dressed. Naked toddlers are cute, I get it, but let’s protect their innocence.
- Once our children are aware, no sharing without THEIR permission. My oldest is five, and he’s had adults ask him about things they saw on my Facebook account. He was totally caught off guard by people he didn’t know knowing about a trip we took. He has since asked me to not share things with people he doesn’t know without asking him.
- No mocking our children online in any form. Our children will grow up and (hopefully) be our friends on social media. I don’t need them perusing my account to see photos of me teasing them for a silly outfit choice.
- Consider your motive before sharing. Our children are essentially growing up for the world to see. I’d be mortified to have entered my teen years and know that each embarrassing potty training story, tantrum at Target, and naked sandbox encounter had been documented for my entire life on the internet. It might be cute to us, but let’s have a long-term view when we post.
Ultimately, this is something each family will have to decide for themselves. But let’s consider our children’s well being when we post on social media and ask for our family members to do the same.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.com.