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The Internet. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Obviously I have depended on the Internet for my livelihood for nearly 10 years and I love exploring Facebook and Pinterest and all that, which is where the love part comes in. However, the hate part comes into play because the Internet is also a very scary place, which is something that I worry many people don’t give enough thought to.
Of course there is always a way to take a good thing, like Internet, and use it for evil. It’s not right, and I don’t like it, but either way it is a reality that we all must internalize and embrace. Furthermore, we must take the dangers that we become aware of as it pertains to the Internet, and then shape what we do and don’t do on the Internet in light of these things.
Before you post something else on social media in any form, here’s some food for thought. Because truly, should you really post that on social media?
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1. Would the people in the picture or post want that information shared?
What’s funny or cute to us may not be funny or cute to someone else. Even if it’s cute or funny now, will the people involved still think it’s cute or funny in 10 years? This is a great question to take an honest look at.
2. Remember that any picture can be doctored to portray just about anything
It really is hard to know and understand what is going on in the minds of those who have intentions that aren’t necessarily all that good, but understanding it really isn’t all that important. It is important just to accept that there are people who are up to no good, and they are willing to victimize others in any way. Putting a totally “safe” picture of your child in the tub, can be made unsafe easily. So can posting pictures in bathing suits or other clothing items that are appropriate, but can be made to be inappropriate.
3. Things intended to shame someone else
We’ve all seen the pictures of the dogs with the signs around their neck stating what they ate or whatever, but this is taken to a whole new level when you add people into the equation. Whether you are posting with words or posting a picture with the intention of shaming someone, using social media to shame someone else is almost always not the right thing to do. Whatever you are trying to achieve can most likely be accomplished in a more effective and less damaging way.
4. Potty pictures
Believe me I understand the victory in this after having potty trained six kids, but I’m guessing that if your child were old enough to understand that picture, he would choose for that picture to not be out on the Internet from now until the end of time.
5. Frustrating rants about someone
Whether it is someone you name or not, if even one person can figure out who you might even possibly be talking about, your frustrating rant does not belong where others can read about it. A journal is a great place to share some of the things that probably shouldn’t be said out loud anywhere, much less on social media.
6. Any information about your family’s whereabouts in advance or really, as they are occurring
Even if you know everyone who has access to your social media, you have no control over what others share or comment on, which can quickly take your information out of your protected circle. This is just one of those things that truly is better safe than sorry. I know how tempting it is to post vacation pictures as you are on vacation, but, if you are looking to be as safe as possible on the Internet, it is best to wait until you get home.
7. Pictures or information that tag others without their permission
Of course there are people who could be exempt from this list such as your spouse or maybe your parents or something, but when it comes to friends or acquaintences, the truth is you really don’t know everything about their life. Maybe there is an estranged family member or someone who wants to bring harm to them or their family and could use the information that you shared in complete innocence in a very bad way. Again, there are simply those out there who want to harm others, and in order to be an informed user of social media this is just something that we all have to accept.
8. Pictures or information that could be misconstrued
Of course it could make for a funny story or picture to share certain things, but the truth is that someone could take what you think is a cute picture of your child being forced to perform manual labor as some sort of consequence and blow it completely out of proportion. Someone who doesn’t even know you and has no right to judge you or your decisions in light of the fact that they don’t know anything about you, your life, or your family, but they can still do just that.
The next thing you know, you can find yourself in a heap of trouble because someone misconstrued something you meant to be lighthearted or funny. People love judging others, and it is also true that people love poking around where they don’t belong at times. Just think twice.
9. Anything you don’t want to be read from now until the world ends
As I see it, I don’t see the Internet or something like it just disappearing, which means that whatever you share can and will be held against you so to speak. You’ve probably heard the stories of college graduates who can’t find a job because of information that future employers deem inappropriate or offensive on their social media channels. This doesn’t just apply to college kids, however, it really does apply to us all.
10. Something that will open up a can of worms that you really don’t want to open
Do you really want to post something controversial? Do you want to engage others in something that could turn very badly? Again, keeping in mind that once something is on social media it is now out of your hands. We all know that there are those who maybe aren’t the most gracious or tactful of people who like to chime in on social media conversations. There are even those who just like to stir the pot so to speak, but do you really want to open that can? Just something to keep in mind.
Social media can be really great. But, there are times when it really can be not such a great thing at times. Being aware, being mindful, and being a bit skeptical are all good things to keep in mind, and these 10 things are great to keep in mind.
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