Are You Invading Your Kids’ Privacy on Facebook?

Millions and millions of parents are on Facebook these days, and one of the most popular activities for parents to partake in on Facebook is share tidbits about their kids’ activities and utterances during the day as well as photos of their kids, too. As a parent, I, too, also enjoyed sharing parts of my kids’ lives with Facebook friends and family online until recently.

A Traumatic Day…

A few months ago, one of my friends called me in a panic. She had heard her three year old roaming around upstairs instead of napping. When she went in to go check on her, my friend entered the room to find hair scattered everywhere. It took her a moment to understand what exactly had happened, but as she saw her daughter’s golden locks laying on the floor, her once-fluffy stuffed animals now almost bald, and a pair of kiddie scissors in her hand, she knew what happened.

Now, her hair wasn’t just snipped, it was chopped in a really bad way. In fact, there was about a two inch by two inch patch right in the front that looked like it had been buzzed with a razor, and this theme continued around her daughter’s head. My friend did what she could to clean the mess up and to trim up her daughter’s hair. She snapped some photos to send to her husband who was out of town, and to her sister, too. She also emailed them to me so I could commiserate with her. It was understandably a traumatic mommy moment, and I was glad to help.

… Publicized Online

In my friend’s emotional turmoil, she posted a few photos on Facebook, too, and then she immediately regretted it. Sure, she got the sympathy and condolences that you would expect to get in such a situation, but she told me that she also was overcome with an incredible degree of guilt. She said her daughter was overcome with emotion and grief, too, and her own trauma was written all over her three-year-old face. My friend knew that this was not her daughter’s finest moment, and she had publicized it on Facebook. So she took the photos down just a few hours later.

I decided at that moment that my friend’s own drama of the day was a great learning lesson for me. I learned that some parental restraint was necessary on my part when using Facebook. I had certainly been guilty of posting photos and updates about my kids, too. After all, these connections of mine are parents of her friends, parents of potential future boyfriends, maybe potential teachers and possibly even employers, too. The world is surely a small place, and Facebook certainly makes it even smaller.

Before you make the same mistakes, here are some things to think about the next time you are ready to publish information about your family and kids online:

Twenty Years Down the Road. Ask yourself if your child would be embarrassed by having those photos, posts, and so on posted online. What is posted on the internet has some considerable staying power.

Job Search. Employers these days love to do a quick internet search these days on candidates for a position they are offering. Consider what would be found about your child if your child was being searched. Would you be proud to display a specific moment in your child’s life to potential employers?

In Their Shoes. We had the opportunity to grow up in a life without Facebook, where we made mistakes and had our fun family moments without them becoming public knowledge. Consider for a moment if you were in your child’s shoes and your parents posted everything you did and said online. Certainly that would create a different type of childhood experience for you.

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