Social Media for Young Children: Do’s and Don’ts

Social Media is here to stay and when the babies of today get older most of their lives are going to already be documented on their parents Facebook pages and other social media platforms.  There are a few things you should know about archiving your child’s life online. Needless to say that anytime we mention or put a picture up on the internet it makes it just a little easier for identity theft or worse.

Most social media platforms require your child be at least 13 before getting an account. I believe that parents should make the final decision on the appropriate age.  This can vary from child to child depending on their maturity level.

It’s also up to each parent to decide how much of their children’s life they’ll document on the internet. There are a few do’s and don’ts for you to consider when you start posting about any child who doesn’t have the ability to edit what you say about them.

Do's and Don'ts

Do

Include pictures of your children on your Facebook.   This is a great way to share moments with your family/friends and create a virtual time capsule for your children when they’re ready.

Don’t

Include potential embarrassing photos of them.   Translation, no naked photos of your child! Not only can this be embarrassing for your child when they’re older (especially those tween years), but it’s also potentially illegal.  Make sure they’re always covered up!  If it wouldn’t be an appropriate picture at 13, it’s not an appropriate picture at 4. Also worth noting is no matter how well you know people you don’t know them. Who knows what kind of creepy individuals exist, even on your personal Facebook account, who might be doing something untoward with your photos.  We live in a scary world!

Do

Do grab a gmail account for you child.  When they’re older they’ll appreciate having their names as part of their email. It also provides a nice opportunity to share a few notes with them that they can read when they’re older.

Don’t

Create a Facebook account for your child.  Give them their own opportunity to create their social media footprint.  They can always go back and tag themselves in photos and posts from your social media accounts.  Allow them to decide how they will present themselves to the world.

You are not helping your child by claiming their Facebook account. No one is going to claim your child’s Facebook page like they could a URL.  Imagine how you would feel if your parents wrote your autobiography before you could even decide who you were.  This goes for google+ too.  ALSO it’s against the rules.

Do

Grab your child’s name URL.  This will be a great gift to give your child at graduation.  They could use it for their own online resume or any way they decide to use it.

Don’t

Create a website for them.  Similar to social media platforms, you’re creating an online identity for them.  Even if you delete it others can still view it with the Wayback Machine.  Remember, once you put it on the internet it’s always there.

Do

Be respectful and honest with your kids and what you’re posting about them.  This is especially important when your child is old enough to care.  Ellie started caring around five. I am friends with a number of her friend’s parents on Facebook.  She definitely doesn’t want me telling everyone about anything that would be potentially be embarrassing in front of her friends.

Don’t

Make social media a taboo in your house. Remember anything that is taboo or forbidden tends to become more desired.   Start talking to your kids at a young age about social media and remind them, everything that goes on the internet stays on the internet!

Do

Remind your kids to be kind, thoughtful, and to watch their words. Also, when they’re old enough to have their own accounts, ALWAYS have their passwords and check daily.  Don’t let the social media world sneak up on you or your children.  Teaching your children the proper rules now will make those tween and teen years a little easier.  Head over to Ooph.com to learn more about life with tweens and teens online.

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