Are you one to share pictures of your children online or do you shy away from posting photos on the Web?
Recently, The New York Times had an article about the surge in sharing kids’ photos online. Many parents use sites such as Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites to share countless moments of their kiddos – whether they’re in a Halloween costume, at Grandma’s house or (gasp!) playing in the tub. But in some cases, photos have ended up used in ways not intended by the parent.
Some examples include photos of baby being passed off as someone else’s who is faking a pregnancy; use of children’s head shots on profiles on a social networking site in Brazil, even getting “sexy” ratings. And of course, parents are concerned about pedophiles singling out their children and in turn finding out where they live.
But some parents say this is the age of the Internet. No longer are moms and dads sending pictures of their children through the mail to the grandparents in another state. These days, grandma and grandpa are hooked to the Web to see instant pictures.
So is it exploitation or unsafe to post pictures? Or are the fears irrational and this is just how the 21st century is? It’s a decision only parents can make. But if you do post pics, be sure to use password-protected Web sites and always check your privacy settings on these sites.
And when given the choice of “Share with the world” or “Private” … don’t always go with what the site “recommends.” Go with your gut instinct instead.
A couple of weeks ago, I described instances where my son can be a little more outgoing than I would like or feel comfortable with.
He has tried to tone it down for me a bit since then … even reminding me, “Mommy, remember don’t say hi.”
But Shari, a Hiccups reader, offered me some perspective on it. Her daughter, Penelope, was also a chatty one growing up. She tried methods I’m pretty familiar with … no eye contact, directing my responses only my child, trying to hurry in stores. Not only because she didn’t feel like talking (much like me) but also for her daughter’s safety.
Growing up, Penelope continued to be social, meeting interesting people and being able to share interesting stories.
Her advice: Watch my son closely, but allow him the joy of being friendly. She said he’ll go far in life with an outgoing personality.
Thank you, Shari. I sincerely hope I’m not stifling my little boy. Maybe I just need to relax a little and be more willing to sacrifice my own quiet time to let him be himself.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
My son has a somewhat cute, however slightly annoying (yes, annoying) habit of saying “Hi!” to every single person he sees. Not only does everyone get a big greeting and smile, but they also get a rundown of what his shark eats and what kind of growl his dinosaur makes. While you may be saying to yourself “awwww, how cute!” let me tell you how it’s not exactly the cutest.
Let’s take, for instance, the mall. Nothing lures a pushy salesperson like a friendly toddler. If they ooh and ahh and interact with your child for any extended amount of time, you automatically feel obligated to buy something.
How about wanting some quiet time out shopping? It seems like everytime he says hi to someone, it starts a conversation between me and the other person. Sometimes I just don’t feel chatty. Actually, most of the time I’m out running errands or shopping, I don’t feel particularly chatty.
And then there’s the leery guy lurking around … you know the one. My boy always gives them the big “Hi!” and I suddenly feel uneasy. And I can’t help but think if this is how predators lure away little kids – kids who unknowingly give them the OK.
So what am I do to? I hate trying to inhibit my little boy’s personality but in this day and age, you have to be prudent. So I told him plainly to please stop saying hi to everyone. I thought that worked until he told the lady at the shoe counter, and then everyone else, “Please don’t say hi to me.”
How do you combat stranger danger? Let me know by commenting here or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor