Social Media and Parenting 2.0 (Overexposed)

After my last article on subject of social media’s affect of  our kids, I spent a while pondering the long term affects of exposing our children on the internet. We talk about Business to Business and Business to Customer marketing all the time in Social Media, but what about Parent to Child marketing? In 7-9 years, when Anthony and Ethan are trying to get into college, what is going to be out there on the net about them? Will the our boys be using Social Media to market themselves to colleges? You can be sure that the colleges and business will be using it to market to our children.

Our daughter, Keira has been involved in Social Media from 10 weeks in the womb. Mommy tweeted throughout the pregnancy, the birth and all the silly first moments on Keira’s own twitter account. There are more pictures of my children in photo albums online than I have in paper photo albums. This all leads me to wonder if my children are overexposed on the net. While they only get an hour of computer time each day, the amount of information about them on the internet is longer than some books.

Anthony, Ethan and Keira are all going to grow up with this presence on the world wide web. What will that be like for them, knowing that parts of their entire life are floating out there for anyone to find? Some of us (showing my age here) remember the days of CompuServe and BBSes. Yet, as we grew up, our interactions on those platforms slowly died away. When my boys turn 21 and start looking for a job, could they be Googled by their possible future employer? Are they going to find all the silly family photos, Facebook pages, Good-reads, and maybe even this article? Will employers have some kind of system that will red flag certain types of content for further evaluation, and base a salary and job position on how well they maintained their internet presence? Or could they lose a chance at a job when the boss finds photos of them and their friends being too social?

While I love talking about my kids and sharing photos and stories of the silly events that happen in our life, I’m left wondering if maybe it’s too much. What are your thoughts on children’s exposure on the internet?

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Social Media and Parenting

Imagine, if you will, Billy Mays sitting at a computer…

“Tired of waiting for Billy to bring over the new girlfriend to show her all his funny baby pictures? Do your kids avoid you having any interaction with their cool friends? Does Jane make you park around the corner from the school to pick her up?

“Well, now you don’t have to! You can get all the lovely social interaction with your children and their friends! And even their friend’s friends! With Social Media, not only can you show Billy’s new chick all his baby pictures, but you can share it with all his future girlfriends and their parents! Did Jane dance funny for you when she was 8? Wanna share those sweet moments of Billy and Grandma pinching his checks? Social Media can do all that and more!

“But wait there’s more!! Login today and sign up from all the different forms of social media and you share all those moments with friends 24 Hours a day! That’s right! Your kids don’t even have to be awake to be embarrassed anymore!”

– Okay now the serious note.

After I wrote this, Kirsten had the following conversation with Anthony after school:

Anthony: “Hey mom? Remember that silly picture you put on Facebook?? Well, now the whole world has seen it!”

Photo in Question - Posted with Permission of Tween.

Kirsten: “What exactly do you mean ‘the whole world’?”

Anthony: “Well, Ben’s mom saw it and showed Ben and now everyone at school knows about it!”

There I was writing what I thought was a funny article about how social media allows us a quicker and easier way to embarrass our children. Every parents right and responsibility.  But then Ethan, our nine year old, puts in his two cents:

Ethan: “Dad isn’t that cyber bullying?”

Dad: “Well, it’s different…wait…maybe…not really. It’s really about the intent, honey. Mom and I don’t share these photos and captions with the intent to humiliate you but to rather show how cute you are as kids.”

Ethan: “ohhhhh….but it’s still embarrassing.”

So, as social media grows and changes, maybe we need to step back and look at how it changes the interactions of the family. Do your kids have access to social media? Should they be allowed to not friend you? At what level do we trust them and let them interact with the social world with out us? Do we become cyber stalkers and read every email, every Facebook comment, every tweet?

Luckily, I have some time to think about this. For you parents already dealing with this, what do you think? What have you learned?

Social Media for Moms

Moms on social media have a bad rap. I’m always hearing talk about how moms use Facebook just to catch up with old flames, leading to divorce. Or how about those moms just use social media to blast photos of their children without any content? Yeah, you’ve heard that one before…

Well, darn it. My children are cute!

Anyhow…

What people are missing is the relationships and the information being spread around for moms in this social media world of Facebook, Twitter and anything else good that comes along. When the formula recalls took place, many moms in the social media world were already past alerting the news and were instead discussing how to respond before many of my mom friends “in the real world” knew what was going on. Because, seriously, how many moms you know have time to sit and read the newspaper or watch the morning news? And it’s not like a lot of formula vendors were actually looking out for the recalls in a timely manner. And it was the same with the crib recalls, sleep positioner recalls, sling recalls and the backlash AGAINST the sling recalls… I’ve never felt in fear that I’d miss out on important news.

Because I’m connected to a community of moms.

At first, this community was just a lot of faceless moms – People I’d share the latest child picture or share the latest laugh of “kids say the darnest things”. But what grew out of that was a support system and true friendships. When I’m awake at 3 in the morning (yet again!), I can rest assured that there’s probably another mom awake with me to commiserate the lack of sleep. Or if I’m heading into the cold, I can get a quick opinion from five friends – Did I dress my baby warm enough? And the emergency “help! My baby is sick!” Suddenly, I’m being talked down from the ceiling to remain calm and given helpful tips to make her feel better.

And dare I say it? I’ve actually found businesses that have made being a mom just that much easier: a bookstore that’s kid-friendly and open, a work-at-home mom who supplies me with my babywearing habit or the latest fashion in keeping babies warm.

So, Moms – if you’re not taking part in the Social Media world (then how did you find my blog??), you’re missing out!