Thinking carefully about social media sharing
You’re swimming in cute pictures and anecdotes starring Baby, but what’s the best place for those snapshots of her childhood? It’s different for every parent, and there’s no one right way to go about social media sharing. However, there are some questions to ask yourself as you share pictures of and information about Baby.
Who can see this?
Time to get familiar with your privacy settings. They’re different on each social media platform, but there are generally at least a few levels of privacy you can choose from. Are your posts visible only to your followers or to anyone? Can only friends see your pictures, or can friends of friends also see them? Does your picture gallery require a password, or is it open? Every parent will have a different preference, but many people prefer to post information about their children on their more secure accounts so that they know exactly which people will be able to see it.
Why am I sharing this?
Social media has given parents an easy way to collect all of their baby photos in one place. That’s awesome! Rather than having a couple of loose photos in the bottom of a desk drawer, you can keep full digital albums online. However, there are some photos that might not need to be shared publicly. Pictures of naked babies or children getting into trouble can be cute, but they could embarrass your little one when she grows up and might not need to be shared with acquaintances or friends of friends. If you’re using social media to collect and organize photos, there are ways to store photo albums online and on social media so that they’re visible only to you. If you’re sharing to spread the joy you feel when spending time with your little one, consider limiting your posts or modifying your security settings to ensure your child’s privacy.
Would Baby be okay with this?
This one requires you to get a little existential and think about Baby a few years from now. Will her friends be able to see these pictures, and would Baby be happy to show them to her friends, as well as all of yours? Would she be comfortable with having an online presence she doesn&;t control? Some parents set up social media accounts for their children, giving them usernames and the ability to be tagged. This can help aggregate photos, but it also creates an identity for a child before she‘s had the chance to create one for themselves. As you make social media sharing decisions, try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and consider her future feelings.
Is this a security risk?
Posting information about and pictures of your child could open you both up to security risks you’re not aware of. Someone could skim your profile and have access to your child’s birthday, full name, hometown, neighborhood, first pet, mother’s maiden name, and other identifying information. This could be used to hack future accounts, guess passwords, or put your child at risk of identity theft. With a bigger digital footprint, more of your child’s information will be available to the public. That doesn’t mean you can’t post anything, it just means it’s important to be aware of what you’re posting, who can see it, and how it could be used.
There’s no doubt about it – these are tough questions. Social media hasn’t always been a major part of our lives in the way it is now, and your parents didn’t have to ask themselves things like this. All of your embarrassing pictures were likely safely tucked away in your childhood home and only made available for visits from friends, family, and love interests. The world of social media has given us great opportunities to share our lives with our loved ones, but it’s important to share carefully and thoughtfully.