We mothers love our children, and so we should! We’re proud of our kids. We want everyone to know how wonderful they are. I’d like to address a phenomenon among mothers. Here are some examples:
Junior does something really cute but dumb. (He’s three years old.) Mom puts it on Facebook, and everyone says, “Oh, how cute!”
Six years later, Mom posts the same cute video online. Now, Junior’s a “big” nine-year-old. His friends see the video and howl. They kid him about it. He’s so embarrassed that he begins to resent his mother. How could she do this to him? What began as a cute “Throw Back Thursday” ended up being devastating to a little guy who's growing up.
A teen girl takes silly selfies and puts them on social media. She pouts, kisses, and preens for the camera. Her father thinks she’s amusing and forwards the photos of his fifteen-year-old daughter to his friends. “This is Katie, my daughter.”
Soon, Katie’s contacted by one of her father’s “friends of a friend” who finds her very attractive. An inappropriate back-and-forth ensues. Katie changes the perameters on her social media page and unfriends her dad.
Freddy makes all As in school. His mother is so proud that she takes pictures of his school papers and parades his As on her social media page. “Freddy got an A+ on his spelling test.”
One of Freddy’s mom’s friends has a child who will never make an A. It’s not for lack of trying, since her child has some severe learning disabilities. She sees Freddy’s papers day after day after day—A after A after A. She finally unfriends her friend, because she simply can’t emotionally handle it. It’s not that she resents Freddy’s abilities—she doesn’t—but she can hardly take the obvious comparison and subtle put-down of her own beautiful little boy, who tries very hard. A C for him is like an A for someone else, and she knows it.
It’s Barbara’s birthday. Her mother has planned the most awesome Frozen-themed cake and party. Everyone comes dressed like princesses, and it is sparkly and beautiful. Mom takes a million pictures—of everything from the fake snowflakes to the rhinestone tiaras, tulle, and the glowing, young faces. She puts the photos on Instagram and Pinterest.
Barbara’s friend’s mother is horrified to find her daughter’s face all over Pinterest! She wasn’t asked for permission, and she most definitely didn’t want her little princess exhibited for all to see! She makes an irate phone call to Barbara’s mother.
The Broadlowe family goes on vacation with the Joneses. Between them, they have six children—four in the Broadlowe family, and two Jones children. They take lots of photos. The place is gorgeous, and so many kids are doing funny things! “Here’s a photo of all six kids on a log bench.” Adorable, for sure!
One of the families doesn’t have a limited setting on their social media account, and anyone can access it. A crook sees that the Broadlowes and the Joneses are away on vacation having a ball, and he figures he can hit both homes while they’re gone. He cleans them out. The families come home to ransacked houses with no TVs, jewelry, computers, or anything else of value. The Joneses were even missing some heirloom furniture!
All of these illustrations and names are completely fictitious, but they could be real.
Here are twelve helpful suggestions for keeping your social media content safe:
- Don’t share photos of your kids with the whole world. Make sure you check the settings on your social media.
- Don’t share anything that will be embarrassing to your child now or later. Do you think your eleven year old wants to see his baby pictures on his eleventh birthday? Do you think your daughter would want to see herself three years old and topless? Would your child like that you put goofy things they did online? (They might be fine with this. Ask your kids first!)
- Make sure photos of your kids are in good taste. No one wants to see them in the bathtub, and no one enjoys seeing heads squishy with spaghetti. Share only clothed and clean photos.
- Don’t share vacations until you’re back home. Don’t mention plans or dates beforehand, and don’t show vacation photos in real time—unless you have a huge dog and an armed house sitter! (I’m kidding!!!!) You’ll want to refrain from sharing bathing suits, as well.
- Ask before showing pictures of others. Period. It’s okay to show the backside of someone’s head or from far away, but if it’s a face shot, refrain unless you have permission. Many people don’t want photos of their children put online.
- If your party is Pinterest perfect, great! Take photos of your cake, decorations, and even some of the little ones from the back, but don’t put birthday child’s or his friends’ faces on. Do not show the outside of your house, and don’t put your child’s name and age online.
- Help your teenager with social media settings. Her daily selfies should go to friends only.
- Think of others. Could someone who’s disabled take what I posted wrongly? Could this be hard for my friend to see? Could this be construed as demeaning? Is it insensitive?
- Don’t put ugly comments online. As Christians, our talk and our sharing should be godly and pure. We don’t need to slam a political party, people who are different from us, or anything else. We can be salt and light without being unkind. This goes for posting and comments. “If you can’t say something good . . . don’t say nothin’ at all.”
- Is it gross, horrible, or uncouth? I’m amazed how many people show maimed bodies, little children suffering, graphic medical pictures (including surgeries), etc. (I get enough of that on the news.) I also see supposedly funny posts about bodily functions. Really!!!! Not necessary.
- Think about pleasing Christ. If it doesn’t, don’t post it. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on (post!) these things (Philippians 4:8).
- If someone else’s content needs flagged, do it. Bullying, profane, pornographic posts, and harassment should be reported. (Some of my friends’ accounts have been hacked. They ended up with inappropriate content on their feeds. Immediately, I told them I thought they’d been hacked, and they took measures to get rid of the objectionable content.)
Do share content that will exalt Christ, build up other Christians, help others, inform, challenge, and bless. Cuteness is fine and so are clean funnies. Family photos can be shared among friends. We enjoy seeing your kids!
Sharing is caring!