In order to manage the social media output in your house — especially when you're not there — parents need to set ground rules with their babysitters. But how?
Chris Rothey, executive chairman of Content Watch and maker of Net Nanny, believes that rather than waiting for a problem to happen, parents should recognize that these issues exist. "It's important to not only be forthright with your babysitters about the rules that you want followed in your home, but also to be clear with your own children," Rothey told POPSUGAR. "Electronics can certainly be a valued way to establish a bond between babysitter and kid as they play games together, but the caregiver should also realize that photo albums are no longer sitting on your coffee tables; they're online. You need to be very careful with who you are showing those photos to."
While this conversation might feel overbearing, moms and dads need to set boundaries with their child's caregivers to prevent the wrong photos or identifying information from ending up somewhere else. Check out Rothey's helpful tips to consider before broaching the subject.
- Be crystal clear about exactly what you expect: Many people just don't understand what all of the different privacy settings mean, and even if they do, they aren't aware of the safety implications this could have for your child, so be upfront and clear about what you want.
- Understand why you're doing it: It's not that you don't trust the babysitter — you don't trust others. Just posting a selfie with your kiddo at school dropoff opens up your child's image along with their school to the world, which isn't a combo you want strangers to know.
- Know exactly what you want: Are you OK with them taking cute pictures of your kid to send to you, or do you not want any photos on their phone whether they post them or not? Some might be OK with snapshots because they love their kids, while others might not want any on anyone else's phone just in case. Either is fine, but it's important to come to a decision before broaching the conversation.
- Make it clear that it isn't just about the photos: Aside from not posting pictures, parents should consider talking to babysitters about avoiding generic text messages or status updates about babysitting. These simple things can put the babysitter at risk for an uninvited (or completely unknown) guest showing up. It's important for them to understand that the way we communicate now can unintentionally reach so many more people — and one of them could choose to stop by.
- Set a precedent: Have the conversation either before they stay for the first time or at the beginning of their first session. That way everything is out of the way and there are no hard feelings if they later do something you aren't comfortable with.
- Be straightforward: This conversation is no different than setting limits with your kids. Let them know that there is nothing wrong with being active on social media, but for reasons of safety and security, you'd like them to follow some simple rules when they're at your home.
- Remember who you're talking to: You've invited this person into your home to care for your kids because you trust them and they love your kids. You want to continue that open relationship between you both, so make sure that they know you trust them and don't think they would do anything with malicious intent.