So you’re scrolling down your Instagram timeline and right between the post from your favorite celeb and the outfit of the day from that trendy fashion mag is an old high school homie’s post of her kid using the potty for the first time…literally sitting on the toilet. You’re just like ugh. I am the proud mother of an almost 7 year old boy and am active (kinda) on social media so I’ve been a part of the “to post or not to post your kid on social media” debate on numerous occasions. I’ve given it lots of thought and I do post my son on my social media sometimes but I have rules to how and when I do it that might help the moms who aren’t so sure about it or might be overdoing it.

Rule #1: The child must be fully clothed. We’d like to believe that everyone sees the photo of a kid on the potty and sees what we see, a happy toddler who just hit a major milestone, but they don’t. There are pedophiles who use pictures from the internet as pornography and even worse, to seek out kids to prey upon. Don’t make your kid an easy target.

Rule #2: Never include locations. I’m not saying you can’t say that you’re at Chuck E. Cheese. I’m saying don’t say which actual location. This goes hand in hand with rule #1. Why expose your child’s exact location to the pedophile surfing the internet for prey? You can let everyone know how much fun you’re having without putting your child in harm’s way.

Rule #3: Consider if he would be embarrassed or proud later on life. The older my son gets, the more I consider his feelings about what I share when it comes to him. He’s almost 7 and just as savvy as I am when it comes to technology. He knows what social media is so I show him what I’m posting before I hit share. Yes, I have actually not posted photos that he didn’t approve of. I have also decided against posting something he approved after I thought about possible future repercussions for him. The internet is forever. Once you post, it’s out there. I would never want a photo to affect him or his future in a negative way.

Rule #4: Consider frequency. Do you use your social media for business purposes? If so, the frequency in which you post your child should be considered. Yes, as an entrepreneur or influencer where you are your brand, I understand the need to share a bit about your personal life. However, the people who follow you, like your customers and colleagues, don’t want to see photos of your kid ALL DAY. Be strategic about how and when you post those personal pics so you don’t overexpose yourself and alienate your followers.

Rule #5. Go with your gut. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by what other people are posting. Just because that other chick’s video of her kid on the potty went viral, don’t feel like you need to post your kid too. And don’t be afraid of the delete button. Yes the internet if forever, but if you did make a mistake and post something that you later decide you shouldn’t have, delete it. It never hurts to try to minimize the damage.

Keeping my child safe and preserving his future image are the biggest components that come to my mind when deciding what and when to post on social media. How do you determine what to post when it comes to your children? Do you let your kids contribute to the decision? Or do you just avoid posting your kids all together?

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