Oh, Facebook. It's one of the best and worst things technology has ever given us. It's a total time waster, but it's also a wonderful way to connect with people you wouldn't otherwise be able to talk to. There's a shift that happens on Facebook, though, when you become a parent. You're no longer thinking only about yourself, or even your partner, when you're posting on Facebook. Instead, you've got a child — and a future adult — to think about before posting. These eight basic rules for posting about parenting on Facebook are critical when that shift from pre-parent sharing to post-parent sharing, finally (hopefully) occurs.
We all have those friends who post the most embarrassing or annoying or downright mean things about their kids on Facebook, or get into enormous and seemingly endless fights in the comment section of some stranger's post. If you're like me, you zoom right by them as you're scrolling through your feed, trying your best to ignore the drama. Every so often, though, a post from a friend about a struggle or lesson she's learned with her kids is so helpful that it can wash away all the social media angst in a heartbeat.
When I first had my daughter, I wanted to shout about every single breath she took from the rooftops (read: Facebook, the modern equivalent). However, I had to remind myself as the reality of her joining our family sunk in, that she has her own story that isn't mine to tell. One day, she's going to be some tech whiz and she's going to figure out a way to find all the things I've said about her from the depths of the internet. I want to make sure that what she sees isn't a stream of complaints about how hard parenting her is, or shots of her naked booty running from the bath tub, no matter how cute that booty might have been. So, while I'm not for telling other parents how to speak about their children (on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter) here are a few kind suggestions when it comes to posting about parenting on Facebook:
Don't Post Naked Baby Photos
I try not to make "weirdos on the internet" into the boogeyman, but there are weirdos on the internet who have more computer skills in their left foot than I ever will. I won't live in fear of posting photos of my child on the internet (although it's completely fine if you choose that for your family), but I do stop at posting naked photos of my daughter and it's a pretty good rule of thumb.
Don't Constantly Complain
Don't only give your poor friends a stream of complaints about parenting, if only for the single reason that some of your friends are likely struggling with infertility (whether you know about it or not) and would give just about anything to be dealing with children who won't sleep or are hellbent on drawing on every wall of your home.
If that doesn't strike a chord with you, try to keep a rule that for every grumpy thing you post, you'll post something cheerful or positive about those little munchkins of yours.
Ask Permission Before You Post Photos Of Other Kids
Before you post photos of other people's kids, ask their permission. Some people are really scared of the weirdos on the internet, and just don't want to share their precious offspring with the world. Make sure you know what your parent friends are OK with
Don't Post Location Information
Those weirdos on the internet again, right? I mean, I'm not trying to sound like a '90s mom, but we all know how bad those chatrooms were. Some things just, well, stick with us.
I try to keep this in mind when I'm adding my location to a photo on Instagram that automatically gets shared onto my Facebook feed. Do I really want the entire world to know which park is two blocks from my house that we frequent just about every afternoon? Nah, probably not. Instead, I share the neighborhood generally, and leave it to the weirdos on the internet to wonder which of the six parks we might be at.
Don't Post Photos Or Stories That Will Embarrass Your Kid Later
I know one day my daughter will find things I've written about her on social media or my personal blog or even here. I always try to work with the rule that I won't post things that my child might find embarrassing or shaming 10, or 15, or 20 years from now. Things that every kid does, like have dirty diapers or spit up, I don't worry about, but I do worry about defining characteristics that might make my daughter self conscious in the future.
Do Update Your Privacy Settings (Regularly)
It's hard to keep up with Facebook's privacy settings as they seem to change every other day f the week. However, try to keep your privacy settings as closed as possible (or at least make sure they're at a setting your comfortable with).
Don't Be Mean About Other Parents' Parenting
Everyone parents differently, and one day you will make a parenting mistake. I promise you, even if you are the most awesome parent in the world, you will make a mistake and you will definitely be hoping that no one shames you for it. Keep that in mind when you're stalking Facebook with your judgmental hat on. Just be kind to other parents, because we all know how tough it is to be a parent and we know how hard we try.
Don't Be An Alarmist
Writing vague yet dramatic statements about something awful happening is just annoying. It's like bad click bait, everyone knows you're being dramatic and looking for a response. Just don't do it. If you have something to share, share it. Don't beg people to ask for the juicy tidbits.