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Social Media and Your Baby: How Much is Too Much?

April 13, 2012

While some of us keep our social media activities to a minimum, others love to broadcast their lives on Facebook and Twitter, for friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. And when a social media extrovert procreates? Well, you can be sure to be treated to a deluge of personal photos, anecdotes, and commentary. You know who I’m talking about. There’s your eternally air-brushed friend from college, who publishes an endless stream of photos of her baby wreathed in flowers and lounging in baskets, plus a few bonus shots of her professionally decorated nursery and flawless manicure. Then there’s your brother-in-law, who just can’t bear to end a day without a colorfully detailed story about his child’s bowel movements. And of course, a few judgmental moms who comment on others’ status updates with intimidating advice.

Of course, these are just a few exceptions. Many of us log onto Facebook each day, eager to see what our fellow parents are up to. Posting new photos of your baby and sharing cute stories are great ways to keep friends and family in the loop. When you have a child, each day contains precious soundbytes and photo opportunities, and social media is a great way to share these moments with loved ones.

But moderation is key. Keep the following tips in mind and keep your social media behavior in check. It’s important not only to mind your manners, but also to make safety a priority.

  • Resist the urge to share stories on blow-outs and projectile vomiting. While some might find your stories amusing, other people may be reading your updates over lunch and will not appreciate the explicit detail.
  • Tone down the judgmental comments. If a friend posts about a behavior or philosophy that conflicts with your parenting style, don’t jump down her throat in a public forum. Everyone parents in their own ways for their own very personal reasons. Facebook is not the place to start an argument about a sensitive topic.
  • Review your list of friends. Are they really all friends? When you joined Facebook in 2008, friending every single person you went to high school with seemed fun, but do you want all of these people seeing your personal photos and details about your family life? Think about whether you feel comfortable sharing with people who you don’t really know very well.
  • Keep your address and contact information private. Internet predators are a terrifying but realistic threat. Once you have a little one, keep your family’s whereabout limited to only people you know.
  • Think about the intimate nature of the photos you post. Your baby has no idea what the internet is now, but in just a few years, the photos you post will immortalize her on Facebook. What might not embarrass a six month-old may humiliate a 16 year-old.

Have fun with social media, but remember these sites are a network. You share with others and they share back. Thinking about the private and personal nature of what you communicate will help to avoid any blunders or inappropriate behaviors, and contribute to a healthier online community!

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