For most people, social media has become a huge part of daily living. We use various platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to connect with friends and loved ones, find out the latest family-friendly activities, catch up on news headlines and share bits of our personal lives on these applications.
Social media has become so pervasive that sometimes the line between public and private can become blurred. With “sharenting”—posting images and videos of your children online—becoming more common amid cyber safety concerns, you might wish to take a pause and take a more curated approach to posting.
To guide you along, here are some social media tips for families that you (and even your older children with personal social media accounts) can easily apply.
1. Do an audit
How do you know if you are over-sharenting? Go through previous posts to check if there has been any personal identifiable information such as one’s birth certificate number, passport details or home address. Also, posting your child in school uniform will reveal his or her location for the most part of the day.
2. Keep posts of your children flattering
Digital evidence lives on permanently. Just as you don’t want a prospective employer to see old photos of your young partying days, your child probably won’t appreciate having their most embarrassing moments immortalized when they become a cool tween or teen.
So avoid posting anything that paints your child in a negative light or in any state of undress. When you experience bad parenting days, release your angst the trusty way by texting your best pals instead of vilifying your child online.
3. Seek consent
Older preschoolers may start expressing discomfort with oversharing. Respect their boundaries by showing them the pictures you intend to put online and ask for their permission before sharing.
4. Tweak your privacy settings
For some parents, sharing on social media is essential for staying connected with relatives and family friends overseas. On top of making your Instagram profile private, consider setting up a “Close Friends” list for sharing updates about your children. This could include your bestfriends, family members or trusted folks who you actually engage with in real life.
5. Incorporate social media into everyday conversations
At some point, your child will start their own social media accounts, and keeping them safe online also means making sure they are savvy about social media usage. Consider discussing interesting content you come across or show examples of positive posts (and negative ones) so they understand the meaning of respectful sharing and interactions. While teachers impart cyber safety tips in school, you can reinforce the importance of limited sharing and show them how to block and report strangers.