Posting family pics on social media? Please protect them from thieves!

Social Media and Your Family Pictures

Social mediaWith parents using social media sites to post family photos, do they need to worry about the photos they’re sharing being taken? The short answer: yes.

This is such an important question to ask yourself if you share family information online.

Source: Post family pics on social media? Here’s how to avoid having them stolen

Pictures of kids on online can be used by others without your knowledge. If that is surprising to you then you need to read this link from a mom whose family pics were used without her permission.

Protecting my photos does concern me even if none of them contain pictures of my family. They are my photos and my property even on social media. But understanding the internet the way I do makes me constantly vigilant like a protective animal keeping their ‘babies’ out of harms way. I am always aware of unethical users who are slithering around the web looking for photos to use as their own.

Our children and grandchildren rely and trust us to protect them and we need to include the internet as a possible place where they could be abused in the virtual world. Their digital footprint is literally in our hands every time we post news or photos about them. What an awesome thought!

So thoroughly think about the ‘stuff’ you post on Facebook, Instagram and your other social accounts especially when it relates to your children. Parents should also ask grandparents to do the same and perhaps monitor family tags that might include your kids.

Privacy settings on social media are paramount to judicious use of the internet.

TGIF-Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading:

Weekend Light



Spring Break has come to Chicago. As we approach this holiday weekend of Easter and Passover, family time takes over. Many of us will be enjoying food, and visits with relatives and friends as we celebrate and relax and spend some “quality time” with each other.


Parenting and boundaries…do you embarrass your kids or do you shame them on Facebook or even in your blog? As parents, we probably should learn some boundaries when it comes to “talking” to or about each other on social media.


We as parents do terrible things to our teens all the time. Our fashion humiliates them, we hold their hands in public or try to kiss them goodbye in front of friends. These are hurtful actions to our teens who are sometimes awkwardly maneuvering into adulthood while trying on different hats. Sometimes it’s slow and plodding, sometimes it’s at breakneck speed but always it is a path they are attempting to make for themselves and though we’re invited along for parts of the ride it’s appropriate for us parents to stand back a little and let them explore their worlds.

I love cooking but on any given day it can be a challenge putting dinner on the table. As a young parent, I definitely had more energy to accomplish this task, but as a grandparent it has become difficult with maintaining weight management and making healthy choices for three generations in the meal planning. I really related to this new mom, who wanted to have  home made dinners but cooking was no longer a relaxing time for her in the kitchen.


This became a habitual meditation — imagining my pre-baby dinner routine every time I sat down to feed my baby. Cooking had been my relaxation habit for years, the chop-chop-chopping of onions and the swirl of oil in a pan my fragrant, rhythmic ritual for slowing down after a hectic day. I loved it, and the memory of it calmed me when I needed to be patient with my fussy eater.

“Quantitiy vs. Quality Time” is always a parenting discussion. Do you use weekend time as quality, quantity time?


As an exhausted parent who doesn’t get enough time to work out, who hasn’t seen a grown-up movie for months, and who wishes that date night were an actual night rather than an idea, I understand why so many of us might seize on studies suggesting that we should take more time for ourselves. Perhaps we should. But we should do so without relying on misleading research. Far better that we make our parenting choices informed by the broader set of more reliable studies, which Ms. Kalil summarized for me as suggesting “that when parents spend high-quality time with their children, their children are more likely to succeed.”

Of course, you can’t have those transcendent moments unless you’re together — to some small extent, quantity begets quality. And that’s where this research should come back to reassure parents. We are spending time with our children, particularly when you look, not at one bad day, but at a week, a month, a year, an entire childhood spent together. When we are questioning ourselves, we tend to look not at the cumulative sum of our time, but at what we fear we’ve missed. We don’t need to spend every minute with our children, or every minute engaged in intense togetherness. The time we spend apart (sleeping, working, studying, building blocks, playing sports, staring into space) brings something to our interactions, too. It’s time to look at our family calendars as half full, not half empty.

Hoping that you all have a restful, enjoyable weekend!

Manage Kids’ Media Use

kids and computers

The American Academy of Pediatrics just made a new statement on kids and media. Here is a review of what they had to say.

Tips for Parents on Making a Family Media Use Plan:

Make a media use plan for your family.  

  • Write rules down,
  • Check quantity and quality of media, take a look at the location of your tvs, phones, and computers including tablets.
  • Location- no screens in kids bedrooms and have a “media curfew”. Have a control center where all electronics get plugged in a night.
  • Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleepschool problemsaggression and other behavior issues. Entertainment screen time should be no longer than 2 hours a day.
  • No screen time for children under 2 years of age.
  • Co-viewing programs with your kids and discussing values , look for educational media choices.
  • The Internet can also be a place where kids can run into trouble, keep the computer in a public part of your home.

Discuss the Internet Rules:

  • Discuss “digital footprint” with your children. Let them know that where they go on the internet can be remembered…nothing they do online is a secret.

Discuss Social Media:

  • Become familiar with popular social media sites like FacebookTwitter and Instagram get your own accounts.
  • By “friending” your kids, you can monitor their online presence. Pre-teens should not have accounts on social media sites.
  • If you have young children, you can create accounts on sites that are designed specifically for kids their age.


  • Good “digital citizens”, discuss the serious consequences of online bullying.
  • If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, it is important to take action with the other parents and the school if appropriate.
  • Attend to children’s and teens’ mental health needs promptly if they are being bullied online, and consider separating them from the social media platforms where bullying occurs.
  • Sexting of any kind is not appropriate and remember the internet is NOT private.
  • Check out a sample “Media Time Family Pledge” for online media use.

How do you monitor your kids’ screen time?

Additional Information:

via Doctors’ Rx: Make a plan to manage kids’ media use.

Mommy Blogs and “TMI”

The New York Times declared her to be “Queen Of The Mommy Bloggers,” but it’s been fully a decade since Heather Armstrong started her blog, Dooce, lost her job because of it, and embraced not without difficulty motherhood — all in public view.

via Top 100 Mom Blogs — all the Best Mom Blogs, including Dooce.

MOMMY BLOGS AND “TMI”                                                                                                (Too much information)

Are too many kids making guest appearances on their mommy’s blog, on instagrams or on Facebook pages?


I find this a serious question and somewhat of a dilemma.

As to what is the right answer,  I am stumped.

How much is too much when it comes to exposing our personal life in photos and words online?

….Children are appearing in droves on social media. These appearances will be visible forever and ever…and it is not the fairytale forever and ever where all live happily ever after.

Blogs by moms are so popular especially if they are authentic and share honest feelings about motherhood…all that is good…all that is bad and even at times down right ugly. Sometimes the bad and the ugly win out when it comes to viewership which is what counts if you want to entice brands to advertise on your site and actually profit from your work.

Is this not  a type of exploitation of our children? And is it all bad?

I love photos and children’s photos are so innocent and beautiful without being posed…so why not share them? But do you ever wonder as I do, who actually is viewing your photos?

How tight should our boundaries be???  Should we be reconsidering how much  we  discuss our children online? Are there situations and anecdotes that do not belong on line in a blog?

A seasoned writer, whom I respect, recently said to me, “This generation is not afraid of the internet as our generation is and they are not as concerned with overall privacy“.

I struggle with privacy and boundaries whenever I write about family and children. Literally, I have thousands of photos uploaded from which I could draw, but I find myself searching “Flickr’s Creative Commons” for an appropriate picture.

I love reading the “Mommy Blogs“…many of them are so beautifully and sincerely written and when photos are included it just adds to their overall beauty and authenticity.

The questions that I have about our children’s privacy are important ones in my eyes. They are influenced by my social worker lens from which I view kids and boundaries.

I hope that you can help answer some of my questions and that my blog is a good balance of what I can share and what I feel is too personal to print.


Talking About Kids Online: Whats Too Much Information? | Strollerderby.

Intersection of social media and journalism

As a social worker and maternal child nurse my work efforts have always advocated for the well-being of mother and child.

I am frequently drawn to humanitarian causes that focus on the mother child dyad. I read so much on social media sites and in newspapers that sometimes the “bad” news often becomes overwhelming and triggers an episode of compassion fatigue.

Personally, I have to pick my causes carefully. I rely on journalistic sources to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of what is going on world-wide in the lives of women/mothers and children.

The recent controversial Kony 2012 video overlaps social media and journalism in the reporting of the horrific conditions that are inflicted on young children and their parents. I found myself confused with all the comments on social media sites…but Jessica Gottlieb‘s post has helped shed light on why I am feeling this way.

My critical thinking was being overwhelmed by my compassionate, empathic spirit…this was not a good thing for someone like myself who works in the service of others. I found some balance after reading Jessica’s post which is linked below.

If you are not familiar with Invisible Children and the Kony 2012, viral video you should read Jessica Gottlieb‘s post on this type of journalism and draw your own conclusions about the intersection of credible journalism and social media.

In this era of intense social media exposure the need to be critical readers/listeners/viewers is mandatory lest we believe everything we read, view or listen to or lest we throw away a good message because of the messenger.

There are many good journalists in America. There are talented documentarians too. Great journalists and biographers aren’t typically found in social media. Sure there are some, but not the majority.

Top 10 Parenting Bloggers on Twitter

Here is a list that I came across in my internet ‘travels’ this week. I found it so very interesting. These are bloggers who on the top of their mark. They are accomplished writers and give other parenting bloggers like myself a bar to measure themselves by.

I cannot lie…I would love to be on this list…I would even be happy if I were in the top 100 Parenting Bloggers on Twitter, if there is such a list.

For me:

  • Blogging is a passion…it is away of sharing with others, which is what I have done professionally for my entire career as a maternal child nurse and clinical social worker.
  • Blogging allows me to reach out farther than I ever imagined possible in my lifetime.
  • Blogging is an opportunity to share the knowledge that I have gathered over a long career of helping others.
  • Blogging is my way of thanking those who generously helped me along the way in nursing and social work, especially those who shared their professional knowledge freely so I could be better at what I do.

I am ever grateful for this wonderful opportunity and grateful for my followers and those that click on the ‘LIKE’ icon and those that comment.

Maybe someday I will have a ranking among those parenting bloggers that are listed above…I will keep on trying.

In that effort, please join me on Facebook (Parenting in the Loop) and Twitter  (@lorettelavine) if you are so inclined …I will try not to disappoint you.

Thank you all and please let me know what you want to read about.



From: FB page of Phd in Parenting:

Do you find the articles posted here and the discussions on the page valuable? Consider suggesting the page to some of your friends who might like it too. The more the merrier!

via Do you find the….

From my FB page...Parenting in the Loop

This is a great blog and valuable discussions for anyone who is concerned about making the world a better place now and for the next generation…two thumbs up here!

A Parent’s 12-Step Guide to Facebook



Parents Should be on Facebook.

“We are surprised by the number of parents who have kids on Facebook who aren’t on Facebook,” says K. Jason Krafsky, a social media expert who co-wrote the book Facebook and Your Marriage. “They are really putting their kids into unchartered territory.” Parents should also learn how to use Facebook tools, such as tagging photos, and the privacy settings.

Children should be at least 13 before they go on Facebook.

“If they ask when they are younger, you have to stick to your guns on this and say no, otherwise they will be hanging out with a much older crowd,” says pediatrician Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, M.D., and author of the new book CyberSafe. “Developmentally, they are not ready.”

Fodeman argues that children should wait until age 16 to get on Facebook, when they are more mature to handle it. After all, it was a site created for college students.

Know your child’s user name and password.

“This is rule No. 1,” says Fodeman. He says children generally perform better when they know parents have set boundaries for them. Let children know you will log in periodically to read their wall, news feeds and inbox, to make sure they use Facebook responsibly and to help keep them safe. If you are only a “friend” to your child, they can hide certain information from you.

Ask your child to “friend” you.

“Some say that’s an invasion of privacy, I say absolutely not,” says Schurgin O’Keeffe. “If you have a good relationship with your kids, they will want to. If they don’t want to, there’s a red flag there.”

Geltman, however, disagrees and says kids deserve some distance from their parents. “I think if I was 13, I wouldn’t want my mother on there ‘friending’ me.” She suggests there are other ways to keep tabs on Facebook use, such as reviewing the child’s site together.

Limit “friends” to real friends. It’s not uncommon for teens to have hundreds, even thousands, of “friends.”

“We tell our girls to ‘friend’ people you are actually friends with, someone you call or text or do an activity with; otherwise you don’t know what they’re going to do,” says Schurgin O’Keeffe.

Kelli Krafsky, the other co-author of Facebook and Your Marriage, says she has asked her son to “unfriend” someone who seemed like a bad influence. “Everything you put on there is a reflection of who you are. You really have to be guarded.”

Don’t “friend” teachers.

This advice is for parents and students. St. John’s Preparatory School, a private all-boys school in Massachusetts, recently adopted a policy that prevents teachers from “friending” students. The state of Virginia was expected to vote last month on a similar policy for all public school teachers.

“From the faculty perspective, I think there was some relief when we put it in writing,” says Wendy Olson, St. John’s assistant principal for student life. Teachers didn’t want to be put in the position of potentially discovering inappropriate material and feeling obligated to act on it.

Fodeman also discourages parents from trying to “friend” children’s teachers, as it puts the teachers in a tricky spot. “If I am a teacher and I friend six parents out of my 19 students, suddenly they have access to me in ways other parents don’t,” says Fodeman.

Give your kids some breathing room.

There are websites actually devoted to the embarrassing posts parents leave on their kids’ Facebook pages. Try to avoid replying to kids’ status updates or to post any photos that your teens may find humiliating, says Kelli Krafsky. You’re also more apt to get a true picture of your child if you’re not always leaving comments.

Talk offline about what happens online.

“The conversation piece is the most important part,” says Geltman. “I see Facebook as an opener of not judging people and behavior, but trying to understand it. If your 13-year-old daughter’s friend posts pictures of her new belly button ring, ask her what she thinks of it, she adds. Don’t say, ‘That’s disgusting!’ “If you start to lecture, they will shut down.”

Teach kids to protect their privacy.

Remind children to never post cell phone numbers, house addresses, or the fact that their parents will be out on a Saturday night. Help children evaluate what types of photos to post. Also, kids should know that some Facebook applications (quizzes, games, etc.) are disguises for adware and spyware programs.

Teach kids to protect their reputations.

It’s not a scare tactic: College admissions check applicants’ Facebook accounts. Fodeman knows of a case where an Ivy League school rescinded an offer to an accepted student after discovering humiliating online photos of her drunk.

“She didn’t post the photo, a friend did,” he says. “Kids don’t realize they are building an online reputation.” Their pages are viewed by parents, potential employers, school administrators, the police and summer camp directors, he adds. One way is if your child becomes a fan of or clicks “like” for a group, potential school or employer. Once that happens, people associated with those groups can view your child’s Facebook profile.

Let them know that you are an ally.

If a child is ever in a dangerous, destructive or unsafe situation, make sure he knows he should come to you, says Schurgin O’Keeffe. It’s parents’ job to keep their kids safe and, the truth is, any child on Facebook is at risk for being bullied because kids online often act bolder than in real life.

Embrace Facebook for all of its benefits.

This is now the place where kids go to socialize with their friends. “It’s fun to be on Facebook and see what other kids are up to,” says Geltman. “There are also advantages for kids who are isolated because it gives them a chance to practice some social skills.” There may be a shy girl who makes a witty comment on Facebook and the boy she likes thinks,“She’s really funny. I never knew that about her before.”

Schurgin O’Keeffe sees Facebook as an effective way for teens to communicate with each other, about homework and car pool plans, for example. The key is to make sure your kids know that real living takes place offline.

“Kids really are different than when we grew up, Schurgin O’Keeffe reminds us, “and parents are deluding themselves if they think otherwise.”


CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media by Gwenn Schurgin OKeeffe, M.D, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011. This book by a pediatrician offers parents a guide to social networking sites, cyberbullying, gaming and how to help your child create a positive digital footprint.

Children Online is a site run by educators Doug Fodeman and Marje Monroe to provide up-to-date information about the use and impact of technology on child and adolescent behavior. Site includes helpful information about scams, tools for parents, and ways to teach children to be media savvy. The founders travel to schools around the county to provide workshops to parents and students.

Joanie Geltman is a new blog all about teens by this noted development expert, popular lecturer and Lesley University instructor.

The Social Media Couple offers many articles on how relationships are affected by social media and what to do about it.