How do you protect your children from the world and the beast that is social media?

I’ve never seen myself as paranoid, but somehow motherhood has turned me into an extra careful, suspicious and cautious person. Maybe some would even call it paranoid, but it just takes a couple of dodgy experiences, some upsetting conversations and a few disturbing news headlines to turn you into exactly that.

How do you keep them safe? Should we adjust the way we engage on public platforms in order to ensure their safety? I find myself questioning a lot of things, trying to make sense of it all, all pertaining to the question of how to protect your children from the beast that is social media and also from the world. I’m going to break it apart into a few points I’ve been dwelling on. I’ll keep it short and please, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

 

How do you know if strangers have good intentions?

I had an encounter recently that left me feeling very uneasy. Juwan and I were playing, and we were approached by a woman and her child. The woman had a lot of questions about Juwan’s development and I assumed, with it being obvious that she was a new mother, she was just comparing our children. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but I’ve run into her a few times since then and every time she has endless questions about my child.

Some part of me wants to give people the benefit of the doubt, wants me to attribute it to the fact that she’s foreign and maybe she hasn’t seen many kids with blonde hair, but I’ve witnessed how she’s only THIS interested in my kid and not the others who were around. Another mommy also mentioned her odd behavior once after she left. It has made me incredibly uneasy and I honestly don’t know what to make of it. Has the crime in our country forced us to become so suspicious and overprotective?

 

Do we have the right to share every intimate moment of their childhood online and so publicly?

Should we post any of it at all?

For a lot of people, including myself, it has become the norm to share much of our lives and our kids’ childhood on a public stage called social media. I’ve been thinking about how this might influence our kids in the future a lot lately. What would it mean for them once they reach adolescence, having their whole identities available online and ripe for the picking. Would they know how to distinguish between how they are perceived online and who they really are? How would it influence how they fit into their social circle at school? If memory serves me right, social media only became a thing around 2007 – which means there are 10/11 year-olds out there today who have experienced this phenomenon firsthand as their parents documented and shared their childhood online – I am so curious how they feel about it all. How would my son feel about it when he reaches that age?

I love taking pictures and I love taking pictures of him, but should it be shared, or does it belong in a photo album at home? I feel like I don’t share everything, purposefully, but maybe I should share even less? It’s not only about how it would influence his life in the future, but also about safety. I’ve heard harrowing stories about pictures being sold to people and kids targeted for human trafficking. We have no idea who we’re really being followed by, who really reads our blogs. I for one just cleared over 80 weird and disturbing comments from my blog that was awaiting approval.

So call me paranoid, but my mama-instinct tells me to rather be too careful than living with regret. Let me know what actions you take to keep your kids safe online and out in the world and how you feel about the points I made in this post, would love to hear other moms’ opinions on the matter.

 

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