We often agonize about the technology expectations we have for our kids, but what rules do our children want for us?
When kids between the ages of 10 to 17 were asked that question, their highest priority was that we “be present” when we are with them. Children wanted a rule that there would be “no technology at all in a certain social contact: Pay attention/put down the phone when your child is trying to tell you something important,” according to research just published by Alexis Hinker and associates.
The second most important rule from our kids was that we “Don’t post anything about me without asking me.” “Twice as many children as parents expressed concerns about family members oversharing personal information about them on Facebook and other social media without permission,” said co-author Sarita Schoenebeck.
Do children have a right to privacy?
A California law went into effect in 2015 gives minors an electronic eraser button. They can delete any post made in social media, and sites like Facebook must clearly inform kids how that can be done. However, this only applies to what is posted by kids, not what adults post about their children.
Should you seek your child’s permission before posting pictures of family gatherings or sporting events? A picture that may appear humorous or harmless to you may be perceived otherwise by your children.
The digital universe is saturated with pictures of kids at bath time, having tantrums or doing silly things. Might a picture that seems humorous to you today be viewed as humiliating when your toddler becomes a teen? At that point, will anyone really care?
The 10-to 17-year-olds who were questioned in this survey felt they had a right to control their own digital footprint. Should these wishes be respected or dismissed as simply the oversensitivity of teenagers?
Think twice before you post these
As with most things in life, I’d avoid either extreme. I’m not going to ask my teenager for her permission before posting a picture of us at family gatherings. However, I’d be very careful of the following.
- Pictures that may be humorous to you, but embarrassing to your children. Our kids shouldn’t have to suffer for your amusement.
- Raising kids is difficult, and social media is a great place for venting those frustrations and obtaining support from. Never disclose any information that identifies your child in those situations.
The best way to deal with this is to involve your children in this discussion. It will increase their compliance with your rules, and help you better understand how to become a responsible digital parent.
This is a topic that Dr. Ramey and I both strongly agree upon. Here is a link to “Privacy: Should I Blog About My Child’s Life On The Internet?” which was posted on the Ohio Family Law Blog on March 9, 2013. The genesis of that article evolved out of conflict I have seen over the past several years with divorced parents arguing about the scope of their child’s internet presence. Typically, this comes up when one parent is freely posting pictures of their child all over the internet or blogging about their child’s personal foibles, which before the explosion of social media would have likely been kept quiet inside the family. I decided to reach out to several psychologists to get their perspective on this controversial subject. I also sought their critique on the language I had drafted to include in Shared Parenting Plans of divorcing parents designed to protect their child’s online privacy rights. Dr. Ramey was very enthusiastic about the topic in the article he wrote then and now!
Gregory Ramey, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and vice president for outpatient services at the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. For more of his columns, join Dr. Ramey on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/drgregramey. Dr. Ramey has been a guest contributor to the Ohio Family Blog since 2007.
[Reprinted by permission from the May 15, 2015, edition of the Dayton Daily News, “Why You Should Think Twice Before Posting That Photo of Your Child” Gregory Ramey, PhD]
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Guest Contributor Gregory Ramey, PhD, Child Psychologist and Dayton Daily News Columnist
Gregory Ramey, PhD, is a nationally recognized child psychologist and columnist who has worked at Dayton Children’s Hospital since 1979. In addition to his weekly column in the Dayton Daily News about effective parenting, Ramey has conducted more than 200 workshops and has recently been quoted in articles in Redbook, Parenting, Ladies Home Journal as well as columns distributed by the New York Times Wire Service.