There is an unrelenting discussion on the topic of parents continually placing pictures of their children on Facebook.
The simple truth is, parents love to share events their child is participating in; they love to boast about their achievements and the milestones they reach. Along with these announcements come pictures. We love to see the pictures of everything they are doing, where they are going and how cute they look. Surely we can proudly place pictures of our children for the world to see?
The issue escalates when the pictures of the child are too revealing and the fear these pictures being used by individuals that have depraved intentions.
Facebook is our new way to communicate and share. It is here forever and will continue to be used by all. It is regrettable when something like a social sharing network can be infiltrated for evil by some depraved individuals causing all members of the community to question intent.
If we post innocent pictures of our children, not naked in the bath, or with groin exposed during a nappy change, then why shouldn’t parents post the brag pictures and share them with family and friends.? Yes, they do stay forever once posted but surely innocent pictures are acceptable?
There are guidelines about the type of pictures permitted on social media and these include no nudity or affronting pictures. If these rules are followed then surely pictures of a child riding a bike, cutting a birthday cake, starting school, winning an award, are fabulous to share?
The main issue occurring is when older children or young adolescents place pictures to share or send that may not be appropriate. Unfortunately there are perpetrators who abuse social media to the detriment of our children. This is where both schools and parents must educate children.
Kids are innocent and do accept things on face value. While we do not want to dissolve their trust in others we must also enable them to understand that face values may really be a creepy old man louring them into sending photos of themselves for the benefit of his depraved use.
How then do we protect our children without melting their trust in others or make them cynical? Should we encourage suspicion or do we need to educate and allow them to reach their own conclusions?
We need to do whatever we can as parents, educators and community to protect our children. Parents of course are the first point ensuring the posts they place are appropriate.
How to protect your children in social media
- Ensure all posts you make are age appropriate and tactful
- Share them with your closed group of friends only
- As your child develops ensure you are a friend on their Facebook page and you can see with whom and what they are discussing
- Explain to your child how the Internet works and provide examples of misconduct that has occurred and how people may misrepresent themselves
- Keep lines of communication open and transparent between yourself and your child
- Do not be judgemental and understand they are children learning and finding their way, they will make mistakes and make errors in judgment
- Support your child through any slip-up they make
- Anger and blame are not appropriate when a mistake is made; educate, explain and guide your child to make better decisions
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