If you have young children, it’s likely that you also have social media; it’s also likely that you’ve confronted the question of how much to share about your kids online. Should you share funny or embarrassing stories? Is it a good idea to post pictures? And if so, which ones?
While the answers to these questions vary from parent to parent, what is clear is that most parents are sharing: according to a 2010 survey by the internet security firm AVG, 92% of two-year-olds have an online presence.
There are definitely advantages to sharing details about your kids’ lives online, or “sharenting” as it’s been called: for example, your friends and family can stay in the loop and you can discuss parenting with other moms and dads. However, there are also potential harmful effects such as online predators and possible psychosocial repercussions down the line.
So what should you share and what shouldn’t you share? And how do you protect yourself? Here are several tips.
- Make sure you know your privacy levels
Check your privacy controls on your various social media, and consider selecting specific audiences for posts, as well.
Moreover, many social media sites give the option of setting passwords and hiding online content from Google search algorithms. You can also set up a notification that alerts you when your child’s name appears on Google.
- Don’t share partially- or fully-nude photos
Unfortunately, when you post these photos, there is a risk they could get into the wrong hands. At the very least, make sure your profiles are private and if you’re sharing on Facebook, you may even want to create a custom group of people to see these photos.
- Don’t share photos of other people’s kids
Every parent has their own views on sharing photos of their children on social media. Be sure to ask the other parent if you can post a picture of their child before you assume it’s okay.
- Refrain from posting shaming pictures or videos
Don’t share photos or videos of your child getting punished for something they did, or something similar. Shaming violates your child’s trust and may actually their brain development, causing problems for him or her later in life. Public shaming can also make your child a target for bullies at school. What’s more, child predators go online and look for kids with low self-esteem.
- Don’t say where your kids (or their friends) go to school
Unfortunately, this is something we need to be cautious about. Make sure the name and/or defining features of your child’s school don’t show up in the photos you post.
- Give your older children veto power
You may want to give your older children the right to say no to a picture or post. This practice can start as early as four years old.
Social media should be a fun and safe experience for all. In order to keep it that way, follow the tips described above. Happy posting!