By Jill Simonian
Posting about our kids on social media has become synonymous with modern parenting. While most of it is usually innocent, fun and positive, posting about our kids on social media can also have adverse affects on our children’s reputations, safety and perception of themselves. Parents create and shape the online identity of our kids, for school, for jobs, for college admissions, for life.
Think twice before posting the following:
1) Unflattering pictures of your kids. Pictures on the potty, naked photos, temper tantrums, sickness and/or injury or images that serve to shame kids for bad behavior all fall under the personal information umbrella and can hurt your child down the line. Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Tsoline Konialian Matossian cautions: “The posting of unflattering pictures and other content by parents challenges the child’s sense of safety and security, which are vital to the healthy social and emotional development of children. Children who feel safe and secure tend to form healthy, lasting bonds with others, while insecure children tend to form only fleeting attachments.” In other words, children might experience resentment and retreat from trusting their parents should they begin to feel compromised or shamed online. Also, it’s notable to keep in mind that whenever you post a photo to Facebook or Instagram, those entities then have certain rights to that image and the photo could very well be seen elsewhere and/or become public with one single share despite your privacy settings.
2) Judgmental comments in Facebook mommy groups. Online arguments are rampant and can get very ugly anywhere, so take extra consideration when posting responses and comments in one of the hundreds of mommy groups online. The best way to get kicked out of the online support group you’re enjoying is to attack someone who disagrees with your stance about vaccines, private schooling, discipline or anything else that triggers sensitive and damaging interactions about parenting choices.
3) Other people’s children or places. For school names, addresses, phone numbers, keep them offline completely as even private settings can sometimes be compromised. For names and locations of others, it’s a good idea to ask permission beforehand if it’s OK to post on social media and/or to tag certain individuals. Some parents are sensitive to tagging, while others don’t care. Be safe rather than sorry. And if someone untags themselves or their kid in your photo, don’t be offended! Social media is very personal to some. And don’t be afraid to gently ask someone whether they plan to post that picture they took of your kid at the school carnival and request to not tag you. Remember, it’s OK to keep tabs on where our kids appear whether in real life or online.
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor and appears every Wednesday on CBS Los Angeles’ News at 5pm. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.