Social media is basically inevitable if you’re an adult. But lately, there’s been a trend of parents creating handles for their kids — sometimes even infants. (We’re looking at you, Coco and Chanel Nicole!) While some parents believe that shielding their kids from Twitter and Instagram protects their privacy, others embrace social media so that family far away can catch up with their kids. We chatted with a blogger and parenting expert to set the record straight on how to best navigate this tricky issue.
Entertainment writer and blogger Juliet Izon of Juliet’s Married had a baby girl this year. She tells us, “I wanted to be able to share loads of pictures of her with friends and family members. Instagram, for me, is the best way to disseminate them.”
For Izon, having her infant daughter on Instagram is also an effective organizational tool. She shares, “Babies change so rapidly at this age, so it was important to me to have an easily accessible archive of my favorite moments. I love using hashtags on her photos (like #10weeksold, for example), so not only can I remember her exact age, but I can peek at other photos of babies at the same milestone. It makes the Instagram universe feel more like a village.”
Denise Daniels, parenting and child development expert and creator of The Moodsters, advises that the first and best way to protect your child on social media is through privacy settings. “Set privacy settings to only allow your friends to see images,” she advises. “Sharing information with only close friends and family can ensure you receive only happy and positive comments.” If your kids are older, Daniels also shared three tips to make it an enjoyable experience for you both.
1. Involve your kids. “As your children grow and start to form opinions, involve them in the process and see how they feel about what you’re posting. Ask them if they are comfortable with you sharing their photos, and let them have final say on which photos are okay to share.”
2. Share only your own kids. This might seem like a no-brainer, but parents often forget that there might be other parents’ feelings involved. “We all love seeing our kids happy and playing with their friends, but some parents might not want their child shared,” Daniels says. “Stick to your own kids unless you have permission from the other parents.”
3. Keep your kid safe. “Be careful of location settings, as it can often reveal to your followers exactly where you are,” says Daniels. An added layer of security on your private account is keeping it to only close family and friends, not extending it to acquaintances — aka only people you would trust to watch your little one. Daniels also advises not posting your child’s full name anywhere.
Daniels’ final words of advice are to make sure you’re thinking twice before posting — is this something that might harm or upset your child in the future? As for Izon, she says, “My hope is that she’ll enjoy seeing all her baby photos when she’s older, but, of course, if she objects for any reason in the future, I have no problem deleting her account.”
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(Photos via Getty)