No, I mean the “real” kids…not your furry ones. I know. They are SO STINKIN’ CUTE!!!!! And, we are SO proud of them!!! (Most of the time anyway:) Who in their right mind could resist staring at their child’s photos and smiling?! Even the ones of when they tried to make breakfast for you and trashed your previously clean kitchen. Or the ones where it’s 100 degrees out but they have snow boots on. Or, one of my personal favorites, the one where they dressed the dog.
I completely get it and have been one of those moms who wants to share all of the cute photos of my kids on Facebook. I was that mom, until I really started understanding why that isn’t always the safest thing to do. You may have your privacy settings enabled correctly, or maybe you don’t- they take some time to figure out, honestly.
So, what are the risks?
It’s not hard, on a public social media platform, for the wrong person to get ahold of your photos for the wrong reason- there is a tremendous risk in putting your children’s photos on public social media sites (besides ending up with an embarrassed teenager when they see the naked baby pictures of themselves in their social media profile).
Check out what happened to this Utah mom recently when her kids’ pictures ended up tagged to port sites:
Or, worse, any mother’s most terrifying nightmare.
Keep your kids safe.
Here are a few common sense ways you can minimize this risk.
- Know that not everyone in your “friends sphere” needs to see your children’s photos. That first lost tooth is cute, but, seriously, the person you met on vacation who is now your social media friend doesn’t really care. And, the guy you used to work with a few years ago that you haven’t talk to since? He probably doesn’t care either. Remember, this is your “friends sphere”.
- If you are putting photos of your kids on your social media accounts, have you spent the time (for me it would take a few hours- and that’s probably an understatement- to really “get” all of the different privacy setting options) to absolutely make sure that no one and “no one’s” friends and that “no one’s” friends can get to your photos?
- Don’t ever check your kids in anywhere.
- Don’t post their photos as your profile picture.
- Keep your social media site(s) for you. Whether you want it to be or not, your social media profile IS your brand and part of what people may find when they Google you. Don’t allow it to become an online photo album of your children. That’s an invitation for danger. I love the idea of keeping and sharing photos of children as they grow up, but do it privately. This is what Frienedy was designed for, and it’s free (www.frienedy.com). You can set up private groups and photo albums that NO ONE (without being personally invited by you) will be able to see the content for. This is especially cool when you are on vacation and want to keep Grandma posted on what the kids are doing at the beach without alerting the world you are gone….which brings me to….
- I know this goes without saying, but I just have to….NEVER post pictures of your family on vacation…while you are on vacation. Hello?! Queue the burglars…
- If you have kids in school- even preschool- make SURE that they are not posting pictures of your kids on their social media page. Why? Again, refer to the second article posted above.
Does your baby have his/her own social media page?
And, for the millennial mamas among us (and I don’t qualify unless I round down- like, a lot), this article is crazy interesting, so I wanted to share it here. According to this study by Gerber, 40% of millennial mamas interviewed had set up a separate social media account for their child before that child’s first birthday. Whaaaaaat?!
I get the reasons- these moms wanted either a.) to keep the child photos from cluttering up their own page, or b.) their child to have a ‘repository’ to accumulate photos as he/she grows… but for the love of Pete!
OK, but not on social media please.
Best tip on this one? Like I mentioned in #5 above, this is exactly what www.frienedy.com was designed for. It’s free. It’s completely private, and the content and members in your Frienedy groups are 100% off the Google radar. Set up your child’s profile there- or just create Albums for your child in a ‘Family’ Group or ‘Family and BFF’ Group- then you share with those who really want and need to see and comment on the adorable photos of your cutie. We use it for my whole family that’s spread out across the miles, and I think we save a lot of Facebook friends the extra scrolling past one more photo they don’t really care about…and that they shouldn’t really see anyway.