Why You Shouldn’t Put Photos of Your Kid on Facebook

Plus other social media mistakes new parents are making.

It’s no secret that many parents are monitoring their children’s use of social media these days. But for parents of kids too young for Facebook and Twitter, it’s the adults who could use a lesson in digital etiquette. Before their children are old enough to walk, many parents are leaving an Internet footprint for their children by sharing too much information. Here are some common mistakes new parents are making. Don’t let your child be a victim of parental social media abuse. (Because let’s be real: By the time your toddler is 16, who knows what will be happening with social media. There’s plenty of time for your kids to screw up their Internet lives without any help from mom and dad.)

1. Sharing ultrasound images.
There’s a reason a doctor is in the room for these things—no one knows what the heck they’re looking at. And while I’m 100-percent certain that your new baby will be adorable, there’s nothing cute about the blurry black and white image you’ve posted on the wall of every relative and close friend. If you really want the important people in your life to see it, send it in an email.

2. Taking bare-stomached pregnancy photos.
Internet dorks will recall the old meme, Rule 34, which states that if something exists, there is porn of it. If there’s porn of it, there are disgusting people who want to get off to it. Do you want your fetus-filled stomach to be part of that vicious cycle?

3. Posting gross labor photos seconds after delivery.
I’m not clear about why you would take photos of your child before he or she has been cleaned up, but if you must chronicle the seconds between delivery and wipe-down—instead of say, taking a moment to relish in the brand newness of parenthood—please don’t share them with the Internet.

4. Posting any potty-training info.
Everyone you know is thrilled that you’re thisclose to being away from the fiscal and emotional burden of Pampers. But posting details about your son or daughter’s toilet-training progress does not excite anyone but you. In fact, it grosses us out a little because now we have to think about poop. If you need advice on what bribes work best, try one of the eight million mommy blogs.

5. Writing explicit details about a child’s illness.
If you ever find yourself explaining the color or consistency of anything that is coming out of your kid’s body—especially if you find yourself using the word green—you need to step away from the computer and call a doctor.

6. Posting way too many photos of your kids.
I love seeing adorable pictures of the kids in my life—especially the ones who live far away. Please put up a scan of your holiday card or a couple snapshots from little Billy’s birthday party or Samantha’s ballet recital. What I don’t love is seeing every moment of a child’s life, because it strikes me as borderline child abuse. Remember when you came downstairs to meet your first date and found dad on the couch with the photo album out? Imagine if your date could Google up those naked tub pics before he even got to the front door. (Trust me: Kids will know how to hack into Facebook Images by the time your infant can date.)

7. Whining about teachers.
If you found out your child’s teacher was complaining about your son or daughter on Facebook, you would be livid. Keep it classy, moms and dads.

8. Wishing your child a happy birthday on Facebook when they are too young to read.
Announcing that it’s your kid’s birthday makes perfect sense. It’s a big day for you, too, and you want to share in the revelry. But writing a personal message to your child, who is not capable of reading or understanding the information, just makes you look like a crazy person.

9. Making your profile image a photo of your kid.
At least twice a week, I get a friend request on Facebook from a woman whose name I don’t recognize and whose profile photo is a snotty toddler. If you’ve gotten married and changed your name—or you’re going by something like Amber’s Mommy—it is impossible for me to realize that we had 10th-grade physics together. Friend request denied.