In the age of social media, it’s easy to get caught up in sharing every little thing your kid does with the online community. Every cute baby pic, every adorable thing they say, every little achievement–we want everyone to hear about it. And for the most part, they want to. Family and friends who live far away might love that they can see your kid growing up even if they can’t physically be there. Parenting bloggers have coined the term ‘sharenting’ to describe the parents who just can’t stop posting their kid’s every move. Is that really the best kind of parent to be, though?
If you’re not careful, those intimate baby pics that were meant for close friends and family could become available to everyone in the whole online world. If you’re not planning on your kid becoming the next viral sensation (because having people make memes of your child’s face seems like a special level of torture) you need to be really careful when you’re posting online. There are a few things in particular you should keep in mind when you’re posting about your kids.
Know your privacy settings
If you’re uploading all your photos so that they don’t take up valuable memory space on your phone, consider creating a separate, totally private account for that. People want to see that your baby is cute, they don’t want to be spammed with hourly updates.
Your adorable baby isn’t always going to be a baby. Someday, she’ll be a real adult trying to get a job and her future employer will Google her to check on her social media presence. The last thing she needs is something her mother posted when she was a toddler coming up. When you post, ask yourself if a grownup version–or a teenage version–of your child would be okay with what you’re posting. If you don’t think your daughter will want a story about a bowel movement online when she’s 30, don’t put it up there when she’s three.
Once your kid is of an age that they can grasp the idea of how social media works, ask permission to post things. We all know the betrayal of having a friend post a photo where we look less than glamorous (untag!) and the feeling is the same when it’s done by a parent. Ask your kids if it’s okay to post their photo. Then listen to them when they answer.
This is both for your kid’s safety and their social well-being. Don’t share anything that would be embarrassing to them either now or in the future. If you just need to post every adorably embarrassing thing your kid says and does, make an anonymous Twitter account and don’t use your kid’s name. Also be careful just how much personal information you put out there about your kid. If strangers can access your profile, they can easily discover where your child goes to school, your weekly schedule and the names of everyone in your child’s life if you’re not careful. Before you post anything at all, remember that while social media makes it easier for friends and family to see what you’re up to, it makes it easier for everyone else too.