A study done by Microsoft two years ago showed that almost 40% of kids aged 5-12 years old have a social networking account, most of whom have their parents as their friends on social networking sites. Why, some parents even create Facebook accounts for their unborn child! Blogging, too, has become a channel for self-expression, and alongside this, posting information and photos of family members may be inevitable. However, for all their good intentions, some parents may not realize that they could be compromising their family’s safety with their online presence -- err, over-presence. How does one prevent oversharing? Here are eight networking etiquette rules parents can follow:
1. Don’t divulge private information. “My daughter got her first period today! She’s now a lady!” Don’t reveal private information about your children, especially if these are bound to be embarrassing for them. You don’t want them to post about your private life either, right? So self-restraint, especially online, is of utmost importance.
When posting, don’t share all the specific details. Parents tend to occasionally forget this - they post their current locations or their future plans in great detail: “I will bring my kids to Chilis in Greenbelt 5 for dinner at 7 tonight.” This tells people exactly where you’ll be. It’s better to post such a status after the fact. Also, avoid using the location feature of network sites that automatically shares where you currently are.
Ensure that your settings are set to private, especially when you post about your children, and choose carefully who to allow access to your photos.
2. Avoid posting too much information. “My son got his report card and here are his grades: 99 in Math, 95 in English, 97 in Science…” - okay, we know you’re very proud of him but does everyone need to know all your son’s grades each quarter? If you want to gush, ask permission first from your child before gushing, and if your child is anything like my daughter, you will likely get this reaction: “Moooommm!”, which will prompt me to quickly delete my post and apologize. I guess we sometimes can’t help ourselves.