Social media is ever-present in all our lives. The latest challenge presenting itself is how often we post about our children, and what information we choose to divulge about them.
Social media has the unique trait of being labeled as both evil and incredible at the same time. When we post a photo and our friend on the other side of the world can see it instantly, it's incredible. When news leaks that our private information has been exploited by Facebook, it's evil.
Those feelings are magnified exponentially when our children are involved. Many of us want nothing more than to show our baby off to the world when they're born. Others will see photos of children online and think the parents are crazy for posting them. A mom who recently sought out the advice of Slate's Care and Feeding is very much on the fence.
The anonymous parent is pregnant with a baby that has a serious congenital heart condition. She and her partner are members of private Facebook groups filled with parents going through the same thing and have found those similar stories helpful. However, when it comes to the wider Facebook world, they have decided not to broadcast their daughter's condition. She wants to know where the boundary is between sharing serious medical information and keeping family and friends informed about how their daughter is doing.
The take-home point from Slate's response is to "always err on the side of privacy." That to check, double-check, and triple-check your Facebook's privacy settings so that if you do post anything, it will only be seen by those that you want to see it. Also, if the information is something that can be delivered via a phone call or a text message, then opt for that. Not every health update will be something everyone on Facebook needs to know about.
Slate also points out that we are just about to enter a time when the first generation of children that has been online since birth can let us know how they feel about that. One of the mom's main concerns is that her daughter will grow up and be hurt and angered that so much of her life was shared online. Perhaps that generation's initial reactions will change how we approach all this in coming years.