As a mother, I frequently take numerous photos of my children during the holiday season. I capture cherished moments with their grandparents and cousins, as well as portraits of them in pumpkin patches. Instead of immediately sharing these pictures on social media, I have now begun to pause before posting.
Over time, my partner and I have engaged in several discussions about our family’s principles concerning social media, what we desire to share, and what we prefer to keep private. These conversations became even more significant when we became parents because we needed to make decisions not only for ourselves but also for our children.
If you’re a parent who uses social media or if your children are starting to participate on social platforms, now is an excellent opportunity to reassess or establish your family’s social media policy.
Defining a Family Social Media Strategy
A family social media policy constitutes a set of guidelines or rules that your family commits to adhering to on social media platforms. Every family’s policy will be unique. Consider your personal priorities, concerns about online engagement and time management, and your aspirations for how social media can facilitate your family’s connections with others.
Some families may have few or no restrictions on the content they share online. Others may seek their children’s permission before posting their images or choose to restrict the types of content they share. Some families may prioritize the platforms they’re comfortable using, the duration of time spent on social media apps, or whether they interact with friends, family, or strangers.
Motives for Evaluating Your Family Social Media Guidelines
Is a documented social media policy necessary for every family? Not necessarily. However, it’s advisable to discuss how you distribute content and engage online with your partner and children, especially if you have young kids and teenagers.
Having grown up during the early era of social media, my partner and I acknowledge that a digital presence can endure for a prolonged period. Although we now share more photos since becoming parents, we also have privacy apprehensions and aim to safeguard our children’s identities as they mature. We are deliberate about what we post, particularly when it involves potentially awkward moments or images such as bathtub photos.
Safety Issues and Geotagging
As parents, we possess valid reasons to be prudent about divulging location information through geotagging features on social media platforms. Many parents may inadvertently disclose this information unless they modify their privacy settings. It’s imperative to refrain from including identifying information, such as street addresses or teacher details, in pictures. While the likelihood of child abduction is low, it’s still advisable to reconsider sharing such information if you’re uncertain about who can access it.
Unauthorized Image Utilization
Despite certain social media platforms prohibiting the unsanctioned commercial application of images, it is still permissible for digital outlets to integrate public posts without the account holder’s consent. This indicates that an endearing family photo shared online could potentially be disseminated by another website without authorization. Although you can delete the image from social media, it may have already been stored or replicated by someone else. To safeguard your privacy, setting your preferences to private on social media feeds is recommended.
Risky Online Conduct
If you have teenagers or preteens, it’s essential to contemplate how to educate them about suitable online behavior while upholding an active social media presence. Teenagers encounter distinctive challenges, such as cyberbullying, sexting, and simple access to conceivably inappropriate content. It’s vital to establish healthy limits that allow for a well-rounded childhood experience encompassing school, friends, and extracurricular activities.
Establishing Your Family Social Media Approach
The extent of involvement you allow your children to have in formulating your family social media strategy will differ. For me, if my children request that I no longer share their images, I will honor their wishes. Numerous public figures and private individuals opt to obscure their children’s faces until they’re old enough to give consent. Ultimately, each family must determine what feels appropriate for them and respect the wishes of every family member.
It’s also crucial to confer with friends and family before publicly distributing photos of their children and to inform them about your family’s social media policy. As your children mature, involve them in the process of ascertaining how your family can actively and responsibly engage with social media platforms. Social media can serve as a means to connect with loved ones or explore topics of interest, but it’s crucial to have transparent conversations about responsible consumption of content.
Every family’s social media policy will appear distinct. Some may opt to oversee their teenagers’ online presence, while others may choose to postpone smartphone use or social media involvement. Take the time to evaluate what feels appropriate for your family.
Don’t Forget to Have Enjoyment with Sharing and Socializing!
Despite intermittent concerns, I remain convinced that with some fundamental guidelines, our family can maintain an online presence and establish a secure and affirmative community that brings us delight. Even though I currently spend more time scrolling than posting, having a reliable social media plan and regular check-ins with my partner and children have alleviated my doubts when it comes to sharing. When I wish to post a delightful picture from our recent family outing, I am aware of our stance and everyone’s comfort level.