Instagram - how I love thee.
In fact, I haven't met a single person who doesn't love Instagram.
What I don't love... creepers.
And they are EVERYWHERE on the Interwebs. Especially Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If you have a public account, I know that you've been followed by someone creepy. It's just a fact of life. Why do these people follow you? I don't even want to know. Are they following me to see my children? Can they figure out where I live by the photos I post? They could figure out the names of my children and family members. They could easily figure out what school they go to. I just broke out into a cold sweat.
Pass. Hard pass. I would rather have safe children than a million Instagram followers every which way to Sunday.
SO! How can you keep you and your family safe on Instagram? Here's how I do it.
1) My kids have a private Instagram.
Only my family can follow them. I don't even let me friends follow them. I post literally everything about my kids on these accounts and print them as books later on. I love my friends, but they don't need to know every single detail of my life or my kid's life. None of these accounts have profile pictures (another way to keep the creeps out), and I don't follow anyone in return from my kid accounts.
2) Never post innocent nudity.
Yes, those naked bums are cute. So cute that some weirdo is going to steal it. Even undies and diaper shots are pushing it, in my opinion. You can never be too careful.
3) Consider not using your child's real name.
Refer to them as their first name initial, or a nickname. I had someone approach me once who I had never met in my life and call all three of my kids by their first names. It really freaked me out and I deleted almost everything about them off of my account. That stranger knew way too much for my liking. If she, a middle aged woman from my own town, knew - then all the creeps did as well.
4) Never post your home's street sign or street number.
No one needs to know the exact location of your home. From there, they can find your school and who knows what else. Even pictures of the exterior of your house can lead a motivated person to find it. Sharing your home is totally fine! We want to see it! But, be mindful of what parts you're sharing.
5) Turn off your location.
Did you just drop your baby off at daycare and post a picture? Did it have the location attached? You just gave the world your child's location for the next so many hours. I shudder to think what could happen. Always better safe than sorry.
6) Wait until you're home to post about your vacation.
I know it's tempting to post that amazing sunset picture while you're in Mexico or that cute shot of your little one running on the beach in California. But - you are alerting the world that your house is currently empty. Don't disclose the location of your hotel until you're home, either. It is SO easy for someone to find you and your kids. If i sound over protective or too cautious - oh, I know that I am! I'm going to say it again (and every day until I die)... better safe than sorry.
7) Some things are too personal to share.
Contrary to some very popular Instagram accounts, you don't need to post everything. Some things in life aren't meant to be shared. It's okay to keep some things just for your memory books (or your private accounts).
I hope this helps you and your cute little ones to be a little more protected on social media! The internet and social media are amazing things! But...
one more time with feeling!
Better safe than sorry!