You Can Nail Posting About Your Kids on Social Media and Keep Them Safe
I’ve been seeing many articles lately about social media and why parents shouldn’t be posting photos of their kids. There is so much advice all over the web and you can decide who you want to listen to. But at the end of the day, they are your children and you should do right by them. Because honestly, do you want naked baby photos of your child showing up on the web when their future employer searches for them?
I’m all over the internet. I’m a writer, I’m on my company site, and I appear in many places. Here is how you should find out what is going on with you and your kids on the Internet.
Google yourself. Simple. I used my full name in quotes: “jessie d’amato ford”. Four pages of items came up and a ton of images. A few things slightly concerned me but most importantly the private things I’ve posted on social media throughout the years do not show up. That’s because I do my best to protect my kids.
After you Google yourself, view the pages where your stuff is shown. If there is any cause for concern about you or your children do something about it now. I noticed many of my YouTube videos are showing up in basic searches. I may go in and change them to private – especially before my children are more grown up as they will not want their friends to view their childhood videos.
The next thing I did was, using a new window incognito, I checked my Facebook page. And to my happiness couldn’t see anything. The privacy of my account works so that makes me happy. I have taken as many steps as I can to protect myself and my family and you should also. Here are a few things you can do.
First, check you Facebook privacy settings and make sure you’re happy with them. Facebook does a good job about showing your settings and letting you know who can see what.
If you want more privacy within those settings, create a group for personal things. I had about 500+ friends on Facebook. Many of them were acquaintances or friends of friends through my work (I work with a huge online community and many of them know of me and friended me). I decided I didn’t need so many of them seeing my posts so I weeded out those I barely know and cut down my friends list to about 300. Then I created a group of people, about 20 or so of close friends and family members only. That group is the only group of folks I post to most of the time with my kid photos or fun statuses. I know them all well and trust them. I even posted a message to them all asking them not to share my kid photos.
How can you do this? When you go to Facebook to post something, see the little icon below the post that says “who can see this”. Select custom and create a list of friends and save that group for posts. Then the next time you post, you can select only that group. And voila, your posts are private from all your other friends.
You can make your Instagram account private as well which I recommend. Only allow those you know to follow you if you’re posting photos of your kids.
Twitter is public. If you’re tweeting kid photos, watermark those pics! I add my internet nickname I use everywhere on my photos. That assures me that if anyone tries to grab it, they can’t crop my name out and use it as their own.
Those are the most popular sites for moms but if you use SnapChat or any other social media platform just be smart about it.
- DO NOT post photos of your kids naked anywhere or to anyone! Imagine if the photos of you as a naked kid were found online. So just don’t do it.
- DO NOT social media the fact that you’re not home and on vacation. Close groups of friends and family sure but if you’re tweeting photos of your vacation and photos of your home to the entire world, it’s not very difficult for people to grab your home photos, see the location of them and then rob you blind because you’re sharing photos of you on the beach in vacationland! Here’s an oldie but a goodie with more info on that.
- ASK your child before you post something. I took a photo of my daughter (she’s 6) and she wanted to see it. I told her it was such a great image of her and I wanted to share it. She said, no. She said don’t show anyone. So I didn’t. Respect your children and ask them; especially if they are old enough to understand.
- DO NOT post anything to public (on Facebook, you know when it shows the little globe under your posts). If you find your Facebook page when on an incognito window (meaning you’re not already logged in), and you see images of your kids or your personal stuff, that means you’re posting to the entire world! That means not just your friends see your items, anyone can. Don’t do that. Just don’t. It can lead to some not so nice things. Better to be safe than sorry.
- DO NOT create a social media account for your children and tag them with their names. They don’t need an account at 6 months old. Let them decide when and how they want to be online. Don’t do it for them.
The biggest rule of thumb is to use your instinct. Why are you sharing what you’re sharing? To brag? To laugh? To get advice? Who really needs to see it? Is it really about how many “likes” or retweets? Just think about it.
99% of the time you’re not going to go viral. And let’s be honest, you can’t “try” to go viral. It just happens, it can’t be forced. So it doesn’t matter how adorable your children are or how funny that video is, protect your children first and foremost and don’t share to your hearts content without really thinking about it. The stuff you share should be for you and your family. Not for the entire world to see in hopes you get your five seconds of fame.
Just think and be smart. Sharing your life on social media can be more private than you think and be sure to put your kids first.