A new child in the family is always the center of attention. The proud parents are so amazed by their baby’s looks and feats that they want the whole world to share their joy. Gone are the days of carrying the photos of children in the purse or wallet and whipping them out to proudly display; now technology has made it possible to share in real-time the baby’s activities. Parents often use their social media platforms as digital baby yearbooks. The enthusiasm is understandable, but things could go overboard if they overshare.
Most parents in their enthusiasm think that everyone would love to be witness to their child’s antics and achievements, all this while neglecting the future consequences of their actions. Fast forward to 10 years and I can hear the teen screaming in shock, “Mom! You shared my ‘diaper dance’ video online? I mean, how could you? My friends are going to make fun of me if they see this.”
Whoa there, parents! Hold the reins and take a break from your photo-sharing regimen. Will your child take kindly to all the photographs you have shared over the years without their consent and awareness? Or will there be anger, embarrassment and a breakdown of trust in the tumultuous teens?
To avoid all of this, here is quick refresh on cyber etiquette for parents.
Let’s start by repeating my favorite cyber safety mantra; in fact, meditate on it – STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
Time is not running away, nor is social media going to disappear. Give thought to every photo you plan to share online. Who will see it? Can it be misinterpreted or misused? Will it embarrass the child in the future?
Besides, there are other reasons why you should avoid sharing photos of your kids online on a frequent basis; we call it Too Much Information (TMI). The more information you upload about your child online, the more risk you expose it to:
- The child becomes a digital citizen and thus stands the danger of having their identity stolen
- Photos posted online may be shared further and maybe misused
- Photos may reveal location, unless you change your settings
- Social media platforms often pass photos on to third parties and advertisers may target you
- If your account gets hacked, your photos will fall in the wrong hands
Let’s talk about what you should definitely not share online. Yes, I know it’s your page and you have the freedom to share what you like and what harm can a cute baby photo do anyway, right? You would be surprised to learn that sharing such pictures, might make you the target of public shaming over your parenting style.
The kind of photos that are definitely a no-no:
- Bath time
- In front of school or house
- Age-inappropriate poses
- Sporting weird hairstyles or dress
Keep in mind what’s shared online may get re-shared and go viral, especially videos.
Cyber etiquette: Respect others’ need for privacy and don’t share photos of others or tag them without permission.
Your child will be a digital citizen right from birth and will be grappling with maintaining a respectable online identity all its life. As a parent/guardian, the onus is on you to ensure that your child starts with a clean set of digital footprints. Practice safe sharing, keep out names and addresses from posts and ensure your device does not get compromised by using advanced comprehensive security software.