Every parent has a different level of comfort with sharing photos, anecdotes and information about their children on social media. Here are nine tips for new parents as they begin to feel out their comfort with social media sharing.
1. Direct the grandparents early and often.
When I say grandparents, I also mean aunts, uncles, cousins and even your friends. Let them know your comfort level with photo sharing, and expect them to honor these rules. Think about whether or not you are okay with them texting photos to their friends, printing out photos they took, or sharing on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Should they ask each time? Should you be the only ones to share photos online? As you are contemplating these questions, remember that it is always easier to start out with strict rules and loosen up later that to try to enforce rules when your child is three and the relatives are used to doing whatever they want.
2. Think about when the children are older.
Will they be embarrassed by what you’ve shared? Your child likely has a social media footprint since before birth, when you announced your pregnancy. Be careful that you are setting them up to succeed in the future.
3. Don’t overdo photos.
You just don’t want to be that annoying mom. Plus I think it’s much more fun to look at an occasional photo of an adorable baby than be hit over the head with constant photo montages.
4. Think about safety when it comes to locations and “checking in.”
Specifically, never check in at your child’s school or daycare. I would also avoid parks or anywhere that you go for a specific weekly class.
5. Don’t make this about you.
Well, of course in some ways it is about you, because your tot isn’t the one on social media. But it’s always better if you are not using social media as a big ego booster, and more of as a way to stay connected. Along the same lines, avoid too much “milestone” bragging. This can be hurtful or cause unnecessary concern in parents whose children haven’t yet hit those particular accomplishments.
6. You get what you put in.
If you want people to be excited about your child’s accomplishments and general adorableness, be excited for theirs. Spend time making kind comments and liking the photos and anecdotes shared by others. Even if your friends don’t have children, be excited for their school, work or travel accomplishments.
7. Step up your privacy settings.
Like seriously the highest. A good way to operate is to make your settings such that nobody can find you, but continue assuming that everyone can.
8. Watch out for comparing the ‘social media life’ of others to your real life.
Remember that you are only seeing a preselected snippet of their lives–how they’ve chosen to portray themselves. Everyone has problems, challenges and tough spots. Some people are more open about these, and some people use social media as a way to project a life that they may not be truly living.
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