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Stop! Think about your kid's digital footprint before sharing online.

Brightly colored social media posts from parent influencers show that they've shared report cards, women's hygiene products, and other sensitive information online

There's a new norm. From the moment a pregnancy test comes back positive, parents are sharing their kids' lives on their social media accounts. From potty training to riding the bike for the first time to the gritty details of their teen years, nothing is off limits. But what if the digital footprint you're creating from sharing online could haunt your kids?

Here's the truth. Pedophiles and predators are taking advantage of the images that parents post on public Instagram pages to indulge their sexual fantasies. Don't believe us? Check this out.

A man in a yellow hoodie looks at a picture of a red haired girl posing in a bikini on Instagram while sexualizing comments from other men are highlighted

Source: New York Times

Imagine those comments being posted on a picture of YOUR kid. Does that sound terrifying? Does it make you stop and think about what you've posted on your Instagram or social media accounts? It should!


What you're sharing online could ruin your kid's digital footprint.


We get it! Likes and comments on our social media posts feel good and it's tempting to keep posting whatever gets us the biggest reaction. But, oversharing about our kids' lives doesn't leave behind a positive digital footprint. Instead, it can leave a data trail of embarrassing, harmful, or even sexual content that our kids will have to reckon with one day. So, what should you do before posting about your kids on social media sites?


1) THINK about the impact that sharing online has on your kid's digital footprint.

The THINK technique is simple. Consider these things to avoid oversharing about your kids on your social media accounts:

T — Is it true? 

Is your post accurate or have you embellished for a bigger reaction?

H — Is it helpful?

Will this post help or hurt your kid's digital footprint?

I — Is it inspiring?

Are you posting something that could embarrass or offend your kid?

N — Is it necessary? 

Is this something that needs to be shared with internet strangers?

K — Is it kind?

Will this post cast your kid in a negative light?


If you're not sure a post passes the THINK test, hold off. Even before your kids create social media accounts, your posts about them are the beginning of their digital footprint. Remember, the internet is forever and even a deleted post can be dragged back up to haunt your kid like a digital shadow.


2) Decide how you'd feel about someone else sharing online about you.

We've all been there before. We've got a picture of our kid and a funny caption to go along with it. All that's left to do is post it on social media and let the likes and comments roll in!

This is where we need you to stop and pause. You are the caretaker of your kid's digital footprint, especially if they're too young to be on social media platforms yet. What you post can have long-term effects on their online reputation. So, ask yourself two questions.

First, would I want this shared online about me? If there's even a small part of you that'd feel uncomfortable turning the tables, hold off. It isn't worth it to post something that could have negative consequences for your kids just because it's funny at the moment.

Second, could this attract a predator or pedophile? Once you post, you no longer have control over what happens to that online activity. That picture of your kid in a swimsuit might be cute to show family but what about hundreds of internet users? If you feel like a stranger could sexualize that post, don't put it up on your social media. Those pictures could damage your kids' digital footprint and expose them to unwanted attention.


3) Consider how sharing online affects your kid's future digital footprint.

The internet is forever and everything you post now starts the digital footprint your kid deals with in the future. Even now, some kids of popular parent influencers are finding this out the hard way as they discover the details of their first period or most embarrassing moments have been splashed across social media. These kids face an uphill battle of taking back their digital footprint and building a positive online reputation.

As you're posting on social media, think about that. You can damage your kid's digital footprint, no matter how big or small your follower count. Could your post potentially cause your kid problems when they apply for colleges or jobs in the future? If you think the answer might be yes, don't hit that post button.


What you're sharing online matters to your kids' digital footprint.

We get it. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that a social media post could have negative consequences for our kids. However, it's important to be aware of your online activity to safeguard your kid's digital footprint. We're not saying you should never post on social media but when you decide to, do it thoughtfully and carefully.