Happiness multiplies when shared, right? In this age of social media and the internet, we have an amazing platform to share our happiness with the important people in our life. With just a few clicks, we can connect with loved ones across the globe and keep them cued in on major events in our life and the lives of our little darlings. However, when you use the internet to share anything at all about your baby, it is critical that you observe caution. The web is indeed a webby world, and there can be danger for your child if these safety precautions are missed.
Important Internet Safety Rules When Posting About Kids Online
Rule 1. DO NOT Post Naked Photos of Your Baby
There is no denying that our babies are super, duper cute, from head to toe – and bum included! However, even though all of us click those cute photos of our baby when he is wearing his birthday suit, it is best to not post these online. The internet is notorious for abounding in cyber criminals, including people who indulge in child pornography. Plus, you don’t want these pictures to become a source of embarrassment for your child when he grows up (imagine what will happen if someone re-shares this pictures years later on his/her Facebook timeline!)
Rule 2. DO NOT Disclose Your Kids’ Location
This is particularly important if your little one stays outside home for some time every day, say in daycare, a crèche or at the playground. When you post pictures with location-enabled on Facebook or Instagram, what if someone fishy figures it out and uses this info to trace your child? There have been many cases in the past when internet-derived locations enabled kidnappers and criminals to locate the kids, especially if they are people in and around your neighbourhood. It is best to avoid giving away specific location details online such as house number and block number.
Rule 3. Be Careful if You Post Your Ultrasound Photos
Those ultrasound photos have a special, undying charm, especially the one where we first saw our baby! However, if you post your ultrasound photos, remember that they often include the date, doctor’s name and the hospital where the ultrasound was taken. This is too much identifying information to be safe on the World Wide Web! We recommend cropping that part out if you decide to post it.
Rule 4. Avoid Complaining About Your Kids
We have all spent sleepless nights trying to get the baby to sleep. On some days, it is harder than others, and we wish we could just go on a long vacation. However, try and limit your complaints about parenting and children as far as possible. This is in your best interests only; in the long run, spreading negativity does not do anything to resolve it.
Rule 5. Update Your Privacy Settings on All Social Media Channels
Who all can see the information or pictures you share on your Facebook timeline? What about Instagram and Twitter? You don’t want random strangers or people you barely know to be able to see personal pictures of you and your family. To avoid this, make sure you update your privacy settings as often as possible and keep it close, i.e. people you know well (friends of friends of friends may not be a good idea!). This is one of the most crucial rules of cyber safety for kids too, when they become old enough to use the internet themselves.
Rule 6. Avoid Sharing Embarrassing Pictures/Details About Kids
Admittedly, many of these things are funny – a soiled diaper just after you changed it, for example. However, not every private moment between your baby and you should be accessible to the outside world. This is even more important for specific things that your child may do – e.g. bedwetting, or being punished for throwing a tantrum. Every baby does soil diapers, but some moments are meant only for mommy! The main reason we advise this is that such pictures or status updates can embarrass or shame your kids in later years. Violating their privacy even in the early years might create a dent in your otherwise positive relationship with the kids.
Rule 7. DO NOT Post Pictures of Others’ Kids Without Permission
All the kids in your colony may have attended your baby’s first birthday party, and you want to document the moment forever. However, think: how irritated does it make you when someone tags you in a picture you did not want your friends/family to see? Without checking first if you were okay with it? The same rule applies to kids of other people. Some parents don’t like to share pictures of their kids or disclose their details to others. As a rule, never post their pictures before first confirming with their parents.
Rule 8. Ask Family and Friends to Get Your Go-Ahead Before Posting Your Kids’ Pictures
An extension of the above rule, you too must make sure that no one posts pictures of your baby without asking your permission first. This includes your family members too – your in-laws, relatives, guests who came to the party, and friends. Ask them politely to please check with you before posting any pictures on social media (and this includes posting even if they have not tagged you! You may not be aware of it but that picture you didn’t want to make public lurks somewhere on the internet…)
Rule 9. DO NOT Reveal These Details About Your Baby Online
There are some very personal details that equal to sensitive data. This data must never be shared online, even if it seems harmless to do so. When you’re trying to figure out how to stay safe on the internet, NEVER share these things:
- Where your child goes to play in the evening
- The address (or other details) of your child’s friends and their houses
- When you are going to be away from home
- Any information that gives away when the child will be alone/with a babysitter
Details about your workplace, address, identity, etc. that someone can use to impersonate you
Rule 10. DO NOT Criticise Others’ Parenting Style/Decisions
Just because we as parents DO NOT use pacifiers, or DO NOT babywear, or DO NOT let our baby sleep separately, it does not give us the right to criticise other parents who do! The way we parent and the decisions we take are ours alone. If we want others to accept our decisions, we must be accepting of their decisions and choices too. While this is not a safety hazard per se, it does circulate a feeling of negativity and judgment – something no parent needs in this already challenging journey.
So moms, how many of the above rules have you been following? They are essential to make sure that your experience of the internet and social media is joyful and safe – just what you want for your baby.