Responsible Parenting and Social Media

By: Elle Aldridge Mom Smartphone 250

There’s no getting around it: social media is now an integral part of our lives. We tweet, post and even read celebrity mom blogs. This trend means much more than finding new ways to entertain ourselves, though. For parents, it also means learning how to use sites like Facebook and Twitter responsibly.

Social media is about sharing. Parents are likely to post many photos and updates about their young children for friends and family members to see. There are endless positive reasons for wanting to document your child’s growth via social media. Networks such as Facebook are great for connecting with other parents, with family and friends and with organizations. But there are dangers implicit in revealing too much personal information on the Internet. When children are involved, these dangers become even more worrisome.

No matter how ironclad your Facebook privacy settings might be, you have no absolute guarantee that you can control who sees what on your profile. While your friends may have the best intentions when sneaking a peek at your baby photos or reading status updates about a first soccer game, there are others out there with entirely different motives. Modern burglars have begun to employ monitors and high-tech mobile apps to track vacant houses. Social media is a primary tool used by criminals to gather information. cautions against sharing certain details that burglars and other unsavory characters may look for on social media. Your street address, your vacation plans, your social calendar and your current location are all types of information that you should keep to yourself. These personal details can easily be used against you by criminals looking for a target. Avoid revealing when you are not going to be home and protect your address and other contact information.

Pictures are great, but post them once you are safely at home rather than as your day out progresses. Keep detailed personal information out of status updates. “T-minus three days until my weeklong vacation begins” is a surefire way to let people know exactly when and for how long your home will be vacant. Publicly checking in to locations via Foursquare and other “check-in” applications carries similar risks, as does RSVPing to social events.

Social media is an unavoidable part of parenting these days. Today’s children will have their lives documented online in ways that today’s adults could never have imagined. There are many ways to participate in this trend without compromising your child’s safety. And when your child gets old enough to use social media, make sure they follow these same guidelines and protect their information.

As parents, our primary concern is the safety of children. Participating in social media has become ubiquitous, but it should never come before the safety of yourself or your family. Be judicious when choosing what information to post online. Family photos, interesting articles and exciting updates are fair game, as long as they don’t reveal too much identifying information.

It is important to redefine our sense of privacy when privacy for the family is no longer implicit. Keep your family safe in the Information Age by closely guarding your personal details.


Elle Aldridge is the mother of two adventurous little boys. When she is not busy wrangling them in, she enjoys writing about safety and security. Follow her on twitter @ElleEAldridge.

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