Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Top Nine Things Single Moms Should Not Do On Social Media

The ability to connect and then peer into the lives of others from the comfort of my couch has been very attractive with the advent of social media.  At the time I was going through my divorce Facebook was gaining some traction and I have had an account for some time.  I’ve loved reconnecting with lost friends and staying in touch.  It is great to see pictures, catch-up, and overall waste a lot of time.  

And now, my job involves being on the cutting edge of social media.  Each day I play around with a bevy of sites connecting with lots of people.  Not only have I noticed single moms doing insane things on social media, but I’ve had a few mishaps myself.  Here are my top nine tips. 

1)  Do not check-in from your home or bus stop. 
Yes, it might seem like a great idea to be the FourSquare mayor of your house or the bus stop.  And yes, that will take several days of check-ins to accomplish.  However, you are telling people where you live and where you are at certain times of the day.  
You are already supreme queen ruler of your home – you don’t need your phone to tell you that. 
This applies to Facebook as well.  Let’s not give people (like dates you blew off) the ability to easily track down where you and your children hang out. 

2)   If you are playing on Foursquare do not become Mayor of your local High School.  Yes, that’s cool, the kids who play check in and they see that “Mary’s mom is the mayor.”  That’s more embarrassing than my dad wearing high black socks and sandals in the summer.    What is horrifying is this just happened to me.  Yes, I am right now the cyberspace mayor of our local High School

I’ve been playing around with the site on my phone as it is related to my job and swim team season just started so I am at the school several times a week to pick-up for carpool.   Wednesday night when I was waiting….and waiting….and waiting….for the kids to appear out of the locker and took the time to check-in at the HS on foursquare.   I became the mayor.  I cannot be undone until someone else becomes the mayor.  Epic fail. 

3)  While we are on the subject of check-ins, don’t check in from inappropriate places.  For instance, if you get your groove on at a strip club, whether it is a joke or not, your kids don’t need to see that.  I’m not judging you for that activity, just asking that you keep it away from your kids.    My guiding principle: How would my kids react if that was on the front page of the local paper?  More people read Facebook than the newspaper.   

4)   Don’t become friends with strangers.  This is a no brainer.  But as many single moms play around on dating sites there is a tendency to then look to Facebook for more information.  If you become friends with a complete stranger, this person will have access to pictures of you, your children, and other details that you might not want to share. Kids these days friend anyone, and they may be inclined to accept an invitation from someone who is your friend.  Now that stranger has access to your child’s information.  Eeeegads.

5)  Friend your children’s teachers.
This is a hard one.  I live in a fairly small community and many of our public school teachers live in town.  In fact, I’ve met several of them at the pool, playgrounds, and watching various kids sporting events.  Sometimes we’ve been friends before they ever had my children in class. What if you have a spat over a grade, or you need to “vent” about your child being bullied?  What if there is a dispute over a grade but you are friends?   I had a situation where my child was bullied, and I vented the story on Facebook.  At that time I was friends with lots of teachers on Facebook and was told I was unsupportive of the school district. Honestly, I don’t know why teachers become friends with parents.  Unless your page is on lock-down, one inappropriate post on your wall with a crazy picture from college and you could find yourself in hot water. 

6)  Do not announce happenings without your children knowing first.  Are you dating a new guy but you aren’t quite ready for your kids to meet him in person?  Then it isn’t appropriate for them to start to get to know him by your Facebook status changing, or watching pictures of you and your new “friend’ march through their feeds.  Consider that period of your relationship as the “quiet phase.”  Enjoy the new romance…don’t put it on public display until your children have the opportunity to meet the person. 

7)  Do not bitch about the  bitches in the PTO. While the mission is altruistic and many volunteers committed to helping, for some reason some moms use the experience to get their control freak on. And,  I acknowledge, they are bitchy.  But they also have children – who may be friends with your children.  And this could all get very awkward. Not to mention, it’s all bad form sets a very very bad example.  If you don’t enjoy your work in the PTO, leave and get a job.  While I loved my volunteer time, I now work and can report first hand that it is very nice to make money. 

8)  Post inappropriate pictures of yourself. 
I realize that the very definition of inappropriate has a multitude of variations.  If you can’t explain the location or activity to your child, then it isn’t appropriate.  Again, there is no judgement her.  Budior shots are fine as long as you are somewhat covered, naked pictures are not ok. Posting a shot of yourself at a strip club, ummmm no.  In bed….again, sorry, no. 

9)    Drunk FB – you are in a bar in NYC with your friends, “Yo, we are wasted!” Not cool.  Your kids can see that, and they will think it is either mortifying or okie dokie to follow your lead.  Set the example. 

One thing I highly encourage is stalking your children in all of their cyberspace hangouts.  I was recently talking to a mom who mentioned that she thinks Instagram is more dangerous than Facebook for tweens and teens.  I was shocked as I thought you only use it to take pictures, I didn’t know kids could post, like, comment and cause a whole lot of havoc.  Now I’m on it.  Don’t forget about Pinterest – there are some crazy pins out in cyberspace. 

I love social media.  It is a way to connect for business and in my personal life.  I also use it as a way to share with the world my three amazing children – and I do this without hesitation.  My kids may not like being connected, telling the world we are dining together, or the fact that I blast their Halloween pictures out from my phone.  But I think deep down they know I am so proud that I want to scream their successes to the whole world.   

Just make sure that in cyberspace you are acting like an adult and setting an excellent example for your children.  It is your personal life, but so are your kids.  

3 comments:

  1. Great practical tips. Please note that that photos/comments from social media are now being used to discredit people in 20% of Family Court proceedings. In the UK, a spouse’s behaviour on Facebook is now cited in a third of UK divorces in which unreasonable behaviour was a factor. Unfortunately, social media's impact on family law does not stop there - as it’s also now a major tool for divorce-related bullying (e.g. continuing communication, posting nasty messages, hacking accounts, etc). More: Family & The Law (Family Law Portal)

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  2. There's no strangers, just friends that you haven't met.
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