I have always been concerned about how much information I share about my kids on the Internet. The reality is that there are some people in the world that have bad intentions. This is not the majority, but it is enough to make parents need to be aware of how much they expose about their kids. In the past, my filter for who I would friend on Facebook is who I wanted to let see pictures of my kids. Over time, I have posted more information about my kids on my blog, Twitter and Flickr. Even my walls around my Facebook network have come down as I have become more liberal about who I friend and as I try and keep up with the ever changing privacy settings on Facebook.
Not long ago I started the site My Weekly Adventure. The objective of the site was to increase the amount of quality time parents spend with their kids and for them to share it with the community of parents. My first blogger was a friend of mine, Tristan, who created a great post with video of his bike ride to school with his son. Right after he posted that I had lunch with him and his wife. They loved the site but they had some concerns about the amount of information they were sharing about their son. The greatly reduced the amount of information they shared from the original post. This goes back to those people in the world that don't have the best of intentions The new world that we live in of the Internet and social media this is going to be an ongoing conversation. There are some things that you should consider when it comes to sharing information about your kids online.
What are you comfortable with?
Everyone has a different view of what they think they should share or not. Part of this is generational, part of this is paranoia, and part of this is reality. Times are changing, and people are getting more and more comfortable about how much they share online. I recently went to a session from the Social Media Club of Portland on privacy and one of the main topics was Facebook privacy. I have to admit that there were some people there that were much, much more paranoid than I am, but they might be right.
Your kids are probably sharing way more online than you would feel comfortable with. Kids that are growing up with the internet as part of who they are and they are much more transparent than most of their parents. You need to do what you feel comfortable with and that will probably continually change over the coming years.
Don't enable dumb people
I am a believer that if someone is smart and wants to find out information about you or your kids, they will find it. Your information is on the internet if you know where to look. People that truly think they don't have a record of their kids or themselves on the internet is more than likely wrong. Accept that smart bad people can find what they want if they want.
The objective is to not let the dumb people get access to that same information very easily. When you write a post, do you really need to put your address or neighborhood? Do you need to put your kids names? Does the post need where they go to school? Don't enable the dumb criminal.
Everyone is going to look at both of these sections differently, and there is no perfect answer. Don't hide in a cave and be scared of the world. There is no contesting that there are some scary things out there, but there are lots more amazing things out there. Before you post take a look at what you are revealing and ask yourself if you were to remove some of the details would really lessen the impact of the post? Try and find that balance of a great post that is full of information without compromising your personal privacy limits.
I would love to know what you think. Are there other things that people need to consider? Where is your personal limit?
Picture via Flickr: Picture Perfect Pose