Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Facebook: A Place For Our Little Ones?

Facebook is one of my lifelines.

My husband and I have family and friends who live all over the place, including overseas, and Facebook allows us to communicate and stay in touch. Facebook allows us to post photos of Stella (the way I see it is Stella is much cuter than my husband or me, especially since I'm more than eight months pregnant) and see what our friends are posting, too.

I can regularly look at pictures of my other friends' children, and I enjoy feeling connected to all of my long, lost friends out there who also are discovering the joys of parenting. I even enjoy pictures of my friends who are not yet parents because it allows me to live vicariously through their adult-only experiences.

All that is great, but sometimes I question some of the tagged photos I see on Facebook. I often see pictures of friends' kids who are tagged in someone else's photo. I wonder how the parents feel about this.

When someone tags Stella in a picture what that means is that there are hundreds of other people looking at a picture of my daughter. Depending on their security settings, we could be talking about thousands of other people. People I don't know.

I could be having one of my overprotective mom moments, but something about this bugs me. Is there a safety issue with having thousands of people have access to a picture of my daughter? Is there some Facebook etiquette where another adult should ask your permission before posting a picture of your child? Am I committing the same act by posting pictures on my own Facebook page?  Is blogging the same thing?

Like other parental debates - such as whether or not to spank you child or whether or not (and what age) do you let children stay home alone -the camp is divided. Some parents want to protect their children from the dangers that can come with posting pictures of children on the Internet. Others think that photo sharing is a sign of the times that we all must learn to live with.

For me, I just need to follow some rules for now. No pictures of naked Stella, no matter how cute her tush is. I also need to be aware of posting pictures of Stella with other children. A common courtesy would be for one parent to ask another if it is all right to post a picture, especially if those in the photograph are going to be identified with tags.

It is unfortunate that we have to think about things like this, but it is even more unfortunate when a picture that was meant to be shared with friends and family ends up on the wrong hands.

Just wait until Stella is old enough to have her own Facebook - I'm sure that's when the real worrying will begin.

Does this belong on Facebook?

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