The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!