Social Media, Parenting and (Lack of) Common Sense

I originally posted this back in 2011 (forever ago in the online world) but with the interwebz all aflutter last week from “that” post (you know the one.. the one the mom with the boys wrote to the teen girls.. if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. I refuse to link to it), thought it was worth breaking out again because it’s ALL still relevant but more importantly, it shows that PARENTS need to up THEIR a-game on how to act on social media.  

I was running around Facebook, as I frequently do throughout the day, when I came across a business page running a contest. Nothing odd there, right? Lots of businesses run contests and incentives to increase their traffic and number of “likes”.

Except this one was different. This Facebook page was for a medical practice that caters kristen daukas four hens and a roosterto pediatrics.

“So what?” you may say.

Here’s what.

This is the post from the page:

Support your child and their school today by entering them into our  ______ CONTEST! To enter, simply post your child’s name, along with the name of their school. The school with the most entries will win $1,000 for their school! The runner up will win $500 for their school!

Did you catch that? The page was asking for not only the names of the kids but where they went to school.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the parents were doing it! There were entries upon entries upon entries of parents who not only gave up their kids names, but they also where the kids went to school.  The only thing they didn’t do is offer up their kids schedules.

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There they were… parents who wouldn’t dream of leaving their child alone or drive around the block without a 5 point harness system were offering their kids safety up all for the chance of winning $1,000 for their schools. Yes it was a nice gesture to give some school $1,000 but seriously? Could we not figure out some other way to collect information than pimping our kids and the names of their schools out?

I don’t fault the parents entirely. A serious finger wagging and “shame on you” goes to the business owner for not thinking this one through. As a marketing professional and consultant I truly hope there wasn’t a self proclaimed “guru” at the helm of this brilliant plan because if so, I would not hesitate to hunt them down and read the riot act.

It honestly all boils down to this…

Think twice and then once again before you offer up your information.  Don’t get me wrong.. I have slipped a couple of times myself. Just last week I tweeted a photo that had some mail in it that included my address and didn’t even notice it until a kind, fellow tweeter pointed it out to me. I immediately removed it but who knows how far it traveled in those 3 minutes. My husband checked into our kids school on Foursquare… once. After I pointed out to him that the entire world (okay.. 58 followers isn’t the entire world but still) knew where our kids went to school, it wasn’t long before he quit checking in to anywhere.

Social Media is fun and at this point, it’s a way of life for most.  But we have to remember that we’re getting these services for free because these sites know one thing.  They know that we’re going to offer up a wealth of information and that they in turn, can mine and store that info until they need it a later time.  It’s one thing to “like”  the Crest page because you love whitening strips but quite another to “like” your kids doctors office and give 800 Million users the intimate details such as their names and where they go to school.

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The bigger lesson here is to watch what you post, watch where you check in and if your kids are using social media watch what they’re doing every step of the way.

What “travesties” have you seen along the way in social media? Have you done something that you immediately knew you shouldn’t have?



September 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm

This post actually inspired a really interesting discussion between my husband and I. I want to try and take a balanced approach. I want to be smart and not share information that just isn’t necessary to share. But on the other hand, I think we could make ourselves crazy thinking of all the ways people could put puzzle pieces together. We don’t have kids yet, but do want to have them soon, so we talked about what would be okay to share and not share on my blog. It’ good to think about these things ahead of time.

September 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Great points! We try to watch what we share because everything can go viral in less than a minute. And with the weird Facebook options, even if you hide your status from certain people, then can still see if they are friends with your friends. And it can go on and on. I wish I could our parents to be more careful with what they share!
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September 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm

What a terrible thing! People can be so gullible 😉 I’m glad my kids are little and the only internet they are on is the mickey mouse road rally app! But, I’m sure it’ll come too soon and I’ll have to be giving them safety lessons on what and what not to put online. New follower from LOBS!
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September 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I stopped by from the SSBL blog hop. I followed you on Pinterest and Google Plus.
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September 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Yeah- this world— this new world of ours is hard to navigate safely. I try my best to make good choices, and I’m glad you brought this back to the present day. It surely is always a good message and reminder for us all!
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September 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

Good points! I’ve closed my foursquare account, yelp account, and a few others… There were too many ways to find me, I’m not good for all that anymore.
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September 10, 2013 at 10:58 am

I try to be good about these tings, but I know there are things I’ve forgotten or overlooked. I actually said something kindly to a friend last week. She is a new teacher and she was posting pictures of her classroom. She posted pictures of the kids names on their desks. There are probably some parents that wouldn’t care, but it certainly isn’t her info to post.
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September 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

So I suppose you have a huge, giant beef with newspapers across the country who have put names, school attended, and photos of honor students, sports players, etc. for so so so much longer than the internet has been around. Even though it’s NEVER been shown that one child has EVER been harmed by it.

Your common sense should tell you the FACT that most abductions are done by someone you know, not The Big Bad Stranger. But that’s uncomfortable to think about because Cousin Johnny or your neighbor would never ever do that. You know them! Well strangers are only strangers to you. Suspect EVERYONE or understand that not everyone is out to get you or your kid, and the internet isn’t causing elementary kids to get taken left and right.

    September 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Agreed. I was probably the parent that didn’t overdo the “stranger danger” lesson because of that very thing. There’s a great post on my other site Ten to Twenty that addresses that very thing you mentioned.

September 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

I posted a pic on FB of the snow in my neighborhood and didn’t realize I had put the picture of my front door with my address. Uh oh. I took it down but ugh, how stupid. We all make mistakes, and you only have to make that mistake once!
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September 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I’m always amazed at the number of times I see kids posting their phone numbers! And I know they do it innocently; they just don’t think. I think as parents we need to be monitoring a bit more closely – I like your attitude, if they are on it, I am on it.
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September 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

I know I have made mistakes along the way. I don’t check in at places generally. I try not to say anything about where I am at on vacation until after I get back. But I wonder how many pictures I have out there that don’t have the metadata removed… There is definitely a lot to think about with social media!
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September 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

Um, hello? I spend half my day telling my kids not to share their personal information and this business is soliciting parents to do it FOR them? Dude. Not cool.

September 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

WOW! That is definitely a doozy! I can definitely see people doing it, though! YIKES!-Ashley
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December 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I try not to check into anywhere. I have recently on my Facebook page cause I’m so excited to be on this vacation with my family and even then I think, should I have checked in? I want my friends to know where I am, but no one else. I’m also leery of posting any photos of my daughter. I’m just paranoid about the stalkers, the what ifs, who’s watching/reading…. So I feel ya on that.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    @ABittersweet1 It astounds me the number of parents that I meet that make the conscious decision to NOT participate in social media. You can guarantee that if my kids are there, I’M going to be there. I tell them that they will never know more than me when it comes to social media and computers and I plan on keeping it that way for a long time.

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