Alright kids, I have a soapbox. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important and bears repeating. Today we’re going to talk about online privacy etiquette. Not your privacy–your children’s.
No one old enough to be on a social network site today really has any idea of what it will be like for the children of today to grow up with every picture and detail of their lives chronicled on a public forum. Don’t assume that just because your facebook profile is private that everything you post online with always be private. I’d also like to point out that The Golden Rule does not apply here. Everyone is different. Just because you think something is fine to post online doesn’t mean your child will agree with you when they are thirteen. I think the issue here is about respecting your silly kid for the complex adult they will become sooner than you think.
Of course, I’m not remotely innocent in this matter, but the longer I have an online identity, the more I realize the wide-reaching implications and potential for violating the privacy of my children.
If you’ve never thought about this before, I encourage you to give it serious thought. In the meantime, here’s some guidelines I think everyone should remember before posting online.
Never ever post naked pictures. This seems like an obvious one, but unfortunately not everyone feels that way. Naked baby (less than one year) butts are cute, but genitals are never okay.
Raising kids is tough. Don’t vent on facebook just because you’re tired. Someday your child will read that post.
Don’t post stories with private/personal information about your child. Besides the possible stolen identity threat, your child might have preferences about what they want the whole world to know about them. No one should ever be able to go online and find out when your child started puberty or how the circumcision went. In the same manner, keep embarrassing stories to a minimum and be sensitive with the subject matter. Stories about bed-wetting, things your child is scared of or mistakes they made, might make for entertaining facebook fodder for you and your friends, but they are still inappropriate as common knowledge. Just because they might be an infant now and you feel like you hold copyright over every detail of their lives, doesn’t mean it will always be that way.
And last but not least: the other other Golden Rule: if you’re not sure if you should, then don’t.