Parents’ philosophies on the digital safety of their children is as different as, well, parental philosophies on parenting. I have friends who share every single aspect of their child’s life on social media, starting with the first sonogram. Every milestone, from their first steps to their first day of school is immortalized on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for all to see. I’m waiting to hear about the first mom to Meerkat her child’s birth.
For me, the issue extends beyond digital safety; it’s more about the decisions you are making about your child’s digital history. I’m by nature an over-sharer, I work in social media and I share just about everything with the exception of sex, politics and religion. I don’t dare imagine what I would have shared about my tots on Facebook had it been around in the early 90’s. Let’s just say I would have been un-friended a lot!
My kids are 25, 22 and 18 and when I was busy raising them, we really didn’t have to struggle with digital safety in the way parents do today. I recall a big brouhaha on the soccer field when we discovered a dad was posting pictures of our kids playing soccer on his blog. Was he identifying our children by name? Did he say when or where the games would be held? The soccer league held a special meeting to review what could and could not be shared by parents. That was about the extent of it, until a few years later, when MySpace was all the rage and my pre-teen daughters were all over it. After one sleepover, one of her friends left her MySpace page open on my desktop. I was horrified to see that she was sharing pictures of scantily clad girls in her bedroom with no privacy controls. I tried telling the child’s mother who looked at me like I was a pervert. She clearly had no clue what MySpace even was or how to access it.
When my family became Facebook obsessed, we began to have conversations with our kids about their digital legacy. It was always their legacy to form though, not mine. My grown children chastise me for sharing photos of them without permission. I overshare, they complain, and I retract for a while. Would I have been slaphappy when they were toddlers, sharing pictures of them sitting on the potty for everyone to see for digital eternity? What you choose to share and not share about your children really is a matter of personal preference.
Safety aside, the question becomes what will you children think of the digital history you are weaving of their life? When they are grown, will they look back and say, “Thanks, Mom, for using my awkward phase as your Facebook fodder”? Or will they love having a testament to their childhood available to access at the swipe of a finger? Only time will tell!
This article is part of our series on Generation Alpha
We seek to provide answers to your most pressing questions about keeping your kids safe online, introducing them to the digital world, and helping them be their authentic selves online.
As if the list of parental responsibilities was not long enough already, the digital world added one more item to the list: taking care of kids’ online safety. On their road to fulfil this quest, parents will be faced with many potholes and crossroads. They will need reliable information to help them make smart decisions.stuff
The word is out, for a while now TBH, but if you are playing catch up, pay close attention – photo and video content are becoming the future of marketing. In fact, video can increase your organic traffic by 157%, while 70% of Instagrammers use Instagram as a preferred platform to check out brands. Didstuff
Millennials were the first generation to find out just how their online activities could impact future opportunities, and in response, they started “cleaning up” their digital profiles. stuff
What’s the difference between an online persona and an offline one? The answer should be nothing. Our online presence should be an extension of who we are as a person, not a carefully curated version of it. But after one scroll through social media, you’ll find perfect vacation photos that hide our jet lag, fancystuff
Gen Alpha is a generation of kids who were navigating their way around YouTube before they were out of diapers, and they will soon dethrone Millennials and Gen-Z as the go-to consumer segment for big brands. It is no surprise that we have all been concerned with the impact the Internet will have on thestuff
Don’t share your address online, don’t post your phone number, don’t give out too much personal info – Millennials grew up hearing all of the usual warnings about internet safety. And while these are still good tips, Gen Alpha will have to deal with a different type of online security: data privacy. Each video, eachstuff
Since the internet existed, so too has the worry about the impact it’s having on younger generations. What is it teaching our kids? Is it making attention spans shorter? Is it turning us into robots? But while internet safety should always be a priority, parents shouldn’t panic about how it’s shaping Generation Alpha. It turnsstuff
Raising the first generation of digital natives is not an easy task for any parent, no matter how tech-savvy they are. Today’s kids use apps like Instagram almost intuitively – to share photos, videos, messages, and stay connected with peers and family. Teens across the globe consider their digital identity to be as important asstuff
Deep in our 30s, the thing my friends and I talk about the most at parties is any variation on: “Thank God we didn’t have social media when we were teenagers”. When I was young the worst possible consequence for doing something embarrassing (aside from police intervention) was that everyone at school would find out.stuff