Tips for parents: To post or not to post?

Today's generation of parents didn't grow up with the reality that their private moments growing up could be posted online for all eternity
Associated Press
Aug 20, 2014

Privacy-wary parents are increasingly pausing before they post photos, names and other information about their wee ones on social media. Some are choosing a complete blackout, while others opt for nicknames and a few carefully selected snapshots.

Here are some social media tips for parents, relatives and friends.

ASK FIRST, POST LATER

• If you don't know how a parent feels about having photos of their kids posted on Facebook, Instagram or elsewhere, ask before uploading a photo and before you tag the parents in a photo. This goes even for close relatives. Actually, it's not a bad idea to ask everyone you post a photo of if they're cool with it, especially if the snaps were taken at a party, swimming pool or any other less buttoned-up situation. It can prevent awkward conversations later.

LIMIT AUDIENCES

• Facebook's privacy settings are complex, but they also offer granular settings that let you pick who can see your updates. One way to do this: Create a "secret" group and add the members you want. The problem here is that anyone in the group can add new members to the group.

Another way to limit the audience of each post you share is to click on the right tab under your update, which may currently say "friends" or "public." Click on "custom" and choose which of your Facebook friends you want to share with and which ones you'd like to exclude. It's simpler on Instagram, where you can either lock your account or set it to public.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS

• Opinions on the age at which parents should start talking to their kids about Internet and social media use vary. Some parents start as soon as their child is old enough to use a smartphone, which can be as early as 2 or 3 years. Amy Heinz, who blogs about her kids, often talks to her 8-year-old about posts she writes about him, but says her younger children, who are 5 and 3, know about the blog but "don't have a concept" of what it means exactly. Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at the nonprofit Common Sense Media, waited until her son was 15 before posting a photo of him on Facebook — and asked his permission first.

GO THE OLD-FASHIONED ROUTE

• Some parents opt for e-mailing or texting photos to one person or to a small group rather than sharing them more widely on social media. Online storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox also let you distribute photos privately, as do photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. Of course, there's always the old-fashioned snail mail method, if you can still find a place to print snapshots.

DON'T EMBARRASS THEM

• That photo of your little one with pea soup all over her face, or the one that shows her first time on the potty might be funny at the time, but think about what she may think of the photo if it's still online when she's a teen. Today's generation of parents did not grow up with the reality that their private moments growing up will be documented and often posted on the Internet for all eternity. Before posting a photo or anecdote, take a moment to imagine a conversation about it with your child 10 or 15 years from now.

Comments

fotobug

What is put on the web stays on the web. I still see a post I made 20 years ago on a thread. Be very careful what you share.

CommonsenseNow

Just disable the Facebook. You can live without it.

knowitall

Good idea. Facebook has done some harm to a lot of people. They do not know the encompassing affect that what "you" put on facebook can be found out just about by anyone. If a person cannot control their urge for Facebook, hopefully they can use discretion in their posts or comments.

CommonsenseNow

I got off Facebook awhile ago. You're right. It's nothing but ammunition no matter how innocently you use it. People being their nosy selves snooping on you because their own life stinks. Facebook SUCKS. We are being desensitized on a daily basis about privacy. Privacy is one of the MOST VALUABLE things you got. Learn to VALUE it in a hyper-nosy, hyper-sensitive world.

knowitall

I am getting tired of seeing pictures of friends cats with some loving comments about the cat.

ladydye_5

My policy is, if you are going to say it on Facebook, OWN IT. Be adult enough to know it IS out there forever and be man/woman enough to own it. If you would not say it to someone face to face, then do not put it out there. Do not post something only to delete an hour, day later. Put up a picture then be embarrassed a day later and remove it. You also need to learn that if you are on Facebook, it is a PUBLIC social media site, when someone is looking at your page, it is NOT stalking, it is NOT creeping, NOT being nosy, YOU put in on there, you set your settings and you allowed it the minute you hit the "send" button. This goes back to the if you say it, post it, show it, you better be ready to own it. Everyone will see it.

CommonsenseNow

It's a free country. If someone wants to delete their post, what the heck does it matter to you? Are you the Facebook Patrol? Who are you to say what another person should do? If you want to operate on your facebook that way, fine. But who exactly are you preaching to and what makes you think they care about what you think they should do on facebook? In fact, you prove my entire point.