A new school year is upon us and the first thing many families want to do is share that first school day through social media. In my opinion, that should not be the first thing that comes to your mind. You should be thinking about the conversation you will have with your kiddos after the first day of school. It’s those conversations around the supper table that make a positive difference in the lives of our kids. Here are some tips to keep your family safe online and help you enjoy the new school year.
PERMISSION TO SHARE PHOTOS OF OTHERS KIDS
If you take a photo of your child with other children around them, it may not be ok to share it on Facebook. One of the first arguments I hear from any parent or grandparent is, “I’m only sharing with my friends.” Well, they must have missed the memo that Facebook is part of what is known as the World Wide Web. Hence, nothing is sacred in our online world. Screenshots are so easy to take today and it’s not smart practice to share photos of other minors without permission from the parents. We do not know what is going on in the lives of many kids. By not sharing a photo, you may save a child’s life. Many kids are in the middle of custody battles, have parents dealing with stalkers, and the list goes on and on. Be the protector and keep your photos to yourself.
STREET SIGNS & BUS NUMBERS
I cringe every single time that I see a photo of kids boarding a school bus with the bus number and street sign clearly visible. Quite often the social media post also includes the time of day the bus arrives. DO NOT do this! A photo with all of this information makes it very easy for someone to know where your kids are during every single moment of the school day. We put our trust in school bus drivers, teachers, and other school personnel to keep our kids safe; when often times, it’s the parents and/or grandparents actions that put the safety of their kids at risk.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTOS
The cute photos with your front door surrounded with beautiful flowers make it very easy for a “bad” guy to find your kids. Often times, your house number is right there in the photo. Find a bush or tree, something very generic to take a photo that you do want to share on social media. You can share the photo, but give away zero information in regards to the location. This means that the location setting on your smartphone also needs to be turned off.
Here’s to a safe school year as new adventures await you and your family. Be safe and smart. It’s up to parents and grandparents to be good online role models. My challenge to each of you is to limit the time you spend on social media and make memories that don’t always involve a smartphone or camera in tow.