We’re starting to feel it in the evenings here on the Outer Banks, that crisp chill in the air that reminds us that Fall is around the corner even if it is still 80 degrees most days. We’re trading in the heat of the Summer and that charcoal grill smell that has filled our beach town for the past three months in for a scent of southern pine trees and empty beaches. (Can I get a hallelujah?!)
With Labor Day behind us and kids heading back to school my Facebook and Instagram are filled with adorable pictures of children in new clean clothes with their hair perfectly done holding tightly to their brand new lunch boxes. I love it! Granted, those sweet clean kids will need to be dragged out of bed next week and probably trade that freshly done hair for bed head as they run out the door to make it in time for school, these pictures are all just too cute. But man, some of them leave me bug eyed as I stare at the computer screen and scroll through. Why?
Call me paranoid, crazy, maybe even over-protective.
I can tell you where half of my Facebook friends children are attending pre-school this year. I also know where they live because after they posted a photo of their sweet kiddo on the first day of school and “check-in” via Facebook to Saint Catherine’s Pre-K, then they posted an image of themselves with their clean and quiet house behind them and a Pumpkin Spice Latte in their hand saying, “FREEDOM” or “Drowning my sorrows in this PSL” and checked in at that location too. Then, when that half day at Saint Catherine’s was over, they posted another photo of their little cutie with their teacher and used their kids personalized hashtag since birth "Good News! #KatieTheCuteLady had the best first day with Mrs. Scott!”
Perfect, so now I know where your child goes to school, who her teacher is and where you live. And it doesn’t stop there… it’s the first day of dance or soccer practice and we’re constantly posting about how amazing our children are, because let’s face it… our kids rock. But what about their privacy and most of all, their safety?
I’m not going to lie, I kind of lost it last week. After our home was on HGTV someone posted my FULL home address on Facebook with a link to our episode. Then, other people shared the post and so-on and so forth and before I knew it I was crazy mama-bear texting and calling people to remove the posts. We think that the four corners of our perfect little Facebook world are safe and that the people that we allow to follow us on Instagram are all family and friends but once you’ve posted that information, it’s online, Forever! Forever people!
I think having a 12 year old and having a 3 year old gives me a slightly different perspective on generating a hashtag for my children and for creating a “check-in location” for my home. Let me just preach here for a second and then I promise I will get off the soap box…
When Penny was born and her nickname suddenly became Lady P, people began using the hashtag #LadyP on my posts or in reference to her. Cute, right? Well, not exactly. And it took my 12 year old to help me realize this since he has an Instagram account now. If Joey would have had a personalized hashtag since birth, his friends could now click on his hashtag and see all of the pictures on his hashtag, you know, his first bath and his 1st birthday smash cake, his potty training “oopsies” and his first day of kindergarten all the way to the post about him hitting his first buzzer beater in basketball last year. Talk about a true violation of his privacy, not to mention, imagine when he goes to get his first job and his potential boss gets to click on the hashtag #JoeyKriegOfficial and sees his life in review complete with the naked bum pictures, don't even get me started on that. We’re crossing lines of privacy and safety with our kids left and right and since no one else was mentioning it… well, you know.
It's food for thought. In absolutely no way at all do I wish to sound like a know-it-all Mom on the playground who clearly has her ducks in a row, my ducks are scattered. I don't wish to come off as THAT Mom that doesn't do anything wrong, I post an absurd amount of photos of my children but I'd love to open up this discussion. Our own parents never had to think about our safety on Instagram or the repercussions of our hash-tagged names, there's not a chapter in What to Expect When You're Expecting on this...
Stepping off the soap box now, here's to wishing all of our kiddos a great school year ahead! I always pray the same prayer for my kiddos as they begin a new school year that puts my mind at ease so I'm sharing it below!