From Facebook to Instagram to Vine, we know how hard it is to resist sharing our baby’s every move. It all starts innocently enough, by posting updates to Facebook to connect out-of-town friends and family with the important milestones. But there are times when too much social media can foster embarrassment, jealousy, and even hurt our children’s futures. This is our guide to things you should never post online.
- Injuries, Illnesses and Boo-Boos: YouTube.com stars Sam and Nia Rader found out the hard way how damaging online fame can be. The vlogging couple frequently shared their children’s cute thoughts and touching moments. However, the family was harboring some serious secrets that exposed them to much criticism. One of the videos that caused concern was a video of their daughter after she had been stung by a bee. Although being stung by a bee is not a life-threatening big deal unless you are allergic, it’s a traumatic event to a child. A video of your child’s crying face may get clicks, but what will it cost you in parenting trust and compassion? Put down that iPhone, treat that sting with some peanut butter and give your child a hug.
- Potty Training Pictures: It’s an exciting time in the life of any parent: the day your child learns to use the toilet like a big girl! As much as you want to scream her potty accomplishments from the rooftop, just stick to text posts. Your teen will already have to suffer the embarrassment of having mom show her friends nude baby pictures when she’s 17 years old. It’s infinitely worse to post naked photos of your toddler’s potty training escapades. These photographs stay online forever. Leave the potty in the bathroom.
- Identifying Details: It’s tricky in the modern world to participate on social media while remaining fully anonymous. You can’t even do it. Besides, the fun of being online is socializing with friends and family and finding new people to connect with. It’s fine for adults to interact with each other; just be aware of keeping your children’s identifying information private. There are also too many con men who steal identities using birth dates, addresses and full names, resulting in ruined credit and bad reputations for kids who can barely even talk. There are predators around with sick habits, including stealing photos of your precious children and even tracking their movements using mom and dad’s Facebook updates. Avoid using your children’s full names, restrict birthday celebration posts to friends and family only, and be discreet about which photographs you use. Since you teach your children to guard against stranger danger in real life, it’s up to you to guard against it online.
- Dangerous Activities: We’ve all been there – deciding not to strap our child into the car seat for a two-block ride to the grocery store, forgetting to make him wear his bicycle helmet, or handing him a bottle of beer for a hilarious Facebook photo. Just remember that when it comes to the internet, you never know who may be watching. In the days before digital cameras, many parents were falsely accused of crimes when over-involved camera developers didn’t like what they saw on film. The internet results in similar misunderstandings. You certainly didn’t let your 5 year old drink a beer, but the looky-loos down the street don’t care. You could find yourself subjected to ridicule or even reported to the police. Before you upload a video or photo, think about how it could be perceived. Opt to keep your jokes in house.