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I assure you this is not a thriller story, but it certainly is a thrilling story of passing time, a story of a face that has grown over summer, and a story of a face that waves bye from a school-bus window.
This is that time of the year when school starts. Unofficially it is the end of summer. The first day of school brings with it a deluge of emotions. Kids are excited (or not) to get back to school, mostly to catch up with their friends. Parents end up having mixed emotions – slightly misty-eyed seeing their child transition to another grade level. At the same time, they are glad that there is no more chauffeuring around across town to different camp locations. You don’t have to accept it if you don’t want to, but it sure is nice to have some time back to yourself.
What the first day of school also brings is a social media feed of first-day-photos. Parents want to capture this moment when their child is starting a new year at school. It is exciting to catch those early morning fresh faces with shiny new shoes and a shiny new backpack, and share them with friends and family. Technology provides an amazing platform here. It takes less than a minute to snag a picture with your phone and share it with your loved ones. It truly feels amazing to have your community as an ally in your moment of pride and joy.
I love sharing these pictures and seeing these pictures from friends I know, pictures of kids who were pre-schoolers with my kids and are older now. But lately a few things make me nervous, like having signs of school names and other details on the picture. So I made a list, of things that we should remember while posting pictures of our kiddos on social media.
No school names
Fellow-parents, let’s be careful about what and how we post the first-day pictures. Providing the school’s name, address or any other sensitive information is non-ideal. Keeping personal information about your children away from strangers will keep them safer. I know that retrieving information about the school is not too difficult, there are many ways one can derive that, but why provide that information on a platter, right? So, please don’t.
Remember your privacy settings
Remember, that little text called ‘privacy settings’ on your social media profile. Pay attention to your privacy settings and make sure that you share your pictures only with the people on your network. There is even an option to make your post available to specific people if you want to. Like I mentioned before, technology is an amazing platform to share your moments of happiness with friends and family. But then, let’s do the sharing with just friends and family and not strangers.
No neighbor kids’ photos
This is an absolute no. You should not post pictures of your neighbor’s kids without consent from the parent. Your child may be best friends with him/her but only the parent holds the right to decide whether or not the photos can be shared publicly. You might argue that it is not public sharing since you have the privacy settings in place and you are sharing it only among your friends. Note that your friends are not friends to your neighbor. Let’s be sensitive to each other’s privacy. You have every right to demand this in return as well. If you are not okay with it, do not hesitate to mention that you would not want to share your kids’ pictures on your neighbor’s social media profile.
Discuss social media posting
I love all the good things that social media has brought with it but I am also very big on good practices and safe behavior on the digital medium. If your child is old enough, I encourage you to ask her if it’s okay for you to post her picture on your profile. Mention that this means all of her Mommy’s friends can see the picture. This will set up a good foundation for social media etiquette for your kid in the future. Believe me, she will be on there someday, so teach her how, start today. Explain why it is important to pay attention to privacy and mutual consent for social media sharing.
Live the moment
This is my favorite one. In a strange way, this has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with capturing the moment. Speaking here from personal experience, I was not able to take a picture of my third grader as he got on to the bus. The morning got busy (no surprise there). I barely managed to give him a hug, then he sprinted off and then he was gone. I stood there wondering, I should have planned my morning better. But my point is if you had a similar morning, let me tell you it’s okay. If you have a well-documented beautiful first-day picture, it’s marvelous and if you don’t it’s equally marvelous. Capturing the moment is fantastic but sometimes just living the moment is quite great too.
You and I are in this together!
We are doing great!
Hooray to the beginning of another fabulous year!
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