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Thursday, May 29th, 2014
In the wake of yet another mass shooting of young women and men in Isla Vista, the hashtag #YesAllWomen took off, as a way for women to share stories about the ways that male violence and harassment have impacted their lives. Odds are, you’ve probably seen this in your Twitter and Facebook feeds—and the stories I’ve read were harrowing. Horrific stories of domestic abuse, rape, even murder—and even the more typical tales of girls groped on the subway, women who don’t feel safe walking around alone at night, women who are told they should feel flattered when they get catcalled on the street. And really—should it be considered “typical” for a woman to feel like a walk around the block is too dangerous to risk? (If you want to just get the Cliffs Notes version of this debate, check out this list of some of the most thought-provoking #YesAllWomen tweets.)
But even though the tweets themselves are scary, scarier still is the backlash and comments these statements have provoked from a few men, who have harassed and even threatened women who chose to speak out. Because what we all should be doing is coming together and figuring out how to solve this issue—not intimidating people who are brave enough to share their stories. And who better to start on the path toward solving this than parents like us, who are raising daughters and sons.
I want my daughters to be smart and strong and kind and loving. But because I also don’t want them to be victims, they’ve been taught stranger danger, instructed not to trust adult men, and sent for years of karate and jiu jitsu lessons, so they can fight back if something does go terribly wrong. These are not the lessons I want to be teaching my daughters.
I’m hoping that my friends with sons will be teaching them a different set of lessons—how to honor and respect the women and girls they meet. That no means no, no matter what a girl is wearing or whether she’s had a few margaritas. That women aren’t conquests—that their opinions, thoughts and feelings matter more than their level of hotness. That sometimes, “manning up” means stepping in when your friend is crossing the line with a girl—and not staying silent. Because that silence means that you’re supporting whatever actions your friend is taking.
But I’m worried, because I can already see it starting. Lately, the girls in my daughter’s fourth grade class have been complaining nonstop about the boys, who keep trying to boss them around and put them in their place. Right now, it’s “kids’ stuff,” fights over kickball games and whose turn it is to lead the line. My daughter comes home angry about the latest boy-related slights to her and her friends, and tries to work with me to come up with strategies to deal with it. I’ve been telling her to just ignore the boys and they’ll probably stop. But maybe that makes me part of the problem, by teaching her to stay silent and not speak up about the issues, like we’ve all been doing for far too long. Maybe we should be supporting our daughters as they fight to be treated like equals.
Tell us: What do you think of the #YesAllWomen movement? What lessons and values are you hoping to instill in your kids?
Image: Loving hands by CHAINFOTO24
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#yesallwomen, domestic abuse, Facebook, harassment, isla vista, lisa milbrand, parenting, parenting style, rape, Twitter | Categories:
News, The Parents Perspective
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
Whether intentionally or accidentally, we all share a lot of personal information on the Internet. I make an effort to hide a lot of my private data on social media, but a quick skim of my Facebook page reveals where I went to college, hundreds of photos from the past eight years, and my crazy obsession with corgis, among many other things. These are all details that I don’t mind sharing with my friends—but I’d rather not share with people I don’t know, especially if they’re with a company looking to make money off of me.
Luckily, Facebook is responding to security complaints by offering users more control. Before, when you used Facebook Login on your phone to sign in to an app, you had to allow it access to a large chunk of your information. What exactly the developers could see and what they were using that info for was unclear. But over the coming weeks, Facebook is rolling out an updated login page that makes it easier and quicker than ever to protect yourself online. Here are some tips for using the new controls:
Carefully select what details you provide. The new update allows users to pick and choose which information they share with apps. This means you can choose to share your birthday and your likes with that cool new music app, but you don’t have to share your friend list. Users can go through different categories of information, picking what to share and what to keep private. Just click “Edit the info you provide” to get started.
Prevent unwanted postings on Facebook. There is now a completely separate page for giving the app permission to post to Facebook on your behalf. I hate spamming my friends with details about what I’m reading, playing, or listening to, so I am always paranoid that these activities will end up on the Newsfeed. Now, I don’t have to worry that an app will post without my knowledge, because it’s easy to deny the app permission to post or set it so only select groups can see. Now I can go back to listening to that embarrassing pop song on Spotify in peace, knowing that my friends will be none the wiser.
Test out an app with Anonymous Login. This new option will let people login without sharing any personal information. You can decide later if you’d like to share any of your details. Not all developers will choose to offer this service, but keep an eye out for it in the next few months.
Periodically clean out your apps. If you’ve been using Facebook for many years, there are probably a lot of apps connected to your account. Visit your App Settings to manage permissions and remove old apps you’re no longer using.
Want to see some of the new changes in action? Here’s a sneak peek:
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Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Monday, March 3rd, 2014
We all know today’s tweens and teens are prone to oversharing every aspect of their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — and even adults are guilty of oversharing — but in the case of one young woman, college undergrad Dana Snay, her overshare accidentally cost her family thousands of dollars.
When Snay’s dad, a former headmaster at Gulliver Preparatory School, sued his former employer for age discrimination and won an $80,000 settlement, Snay couldn’t resist posting this cheeky Facebook update: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Her careless post started a domino effect: it was seen by other Gulliver students (in her network of 1,200 friends) and eventually made its way back to the school’s attorneys, who reported it back to the ruling judge, who then revoked the settlement. Even though the court stipulated that it was Snay’s parents who couldn’t talk about the case, her Facebook status still violated the confidentiality agreement.
Obviously, Snay was old enough to know better than to boast about something better kept private, but her mistake highlights our society’s addiction to social media and to oversharing (and oversharenting). Our constant need to be plugged in can lead us to weaken our sense of privacy and diminish our better judgment. So as your children being spending more time on social media, start teaching them the things they should never reveal (on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram)…no matter how tempting. Even if they have exclusive “friends only” settings on their social accounts, remind them to avoid sharing the info below for privacy and safety reasons.
1. Personal IDs. This seems like a no-brainer, but teach kids not to type social security numbers, credit card numbers, and account passwords of any kind (email, social media, bank) in any messages. They should also not share photos or videos that show credit cards in them. You can never be too careful…especially when child identity theft can be prevented.
2. Mailing/home address. Street View on Google Maps is just a few clicks away. (And no one wants a repeat Bling Ring situation.) And tell your kids to avoid posting photos or videos of the house (or selfies with the house in the background), especially with street signs in prominent view. And be careful about Foursquare, especially if you don’t want too many people to know where your kids are at certain times.
3. Medical history. There have been amazing stories of kids being diagnosed and saved through Facebook, but like personal IDs, medical information (e.g. specific conditions, diseases, and allergies) should be kept private. You never know what people may do with the info — child identity theft can also occur with medical records.
4. Specific vacation days. Sure, your kids may be excited about going to Disney World or Hawaii, but it’s probably best to avoid posting status updates that say, “Can’t wait to see Mickey in two weeks!”, or posting photos with the caption, “I can’t believe I’m in Hawaii right now!”. Don’t let others know when your house will be or is empty. Instead, encourage your kids to post photos and share stories after the vacation is over.
5. Problems with other people at home or school. It’s easy to vent about some annoying parent, sibling, friend, teacher, etc., online but you never know who will see a Facebook or Twitter status and be hurt. It may be hard, but it’s best to wait and talk to someone in person (whether it’s venting to an objective person or confronting the problem person). Embarrassment will be nixed and online fights and dramas will be avoided. Personal problems won’t drag on…and on.
6. Improper photos or videos. These include any photos and videos that can be misconstrued or misinterpreted, including ones showing nudity or risqué looks, hard partying, smoking, drinking, drugs, etc. Basically anything that show your kids in compromising situations. And have your kids ask their friends (and vice versa) to grant permission before any photos or videos are posted and tagged.
7. Sensitive information attached to a court case. Obviously, don’t do what Snay did. If your family is involved in or going to be involved in any court case, instruct your child not to reveal anything (even in person) before, during, or after the case…no matter the outcome. After all, no one wants two sentences, 140 characters, or a photo or video to be the cause of unhappiness (like, um, losing money) and unwanted media attention.
Tell us: What will you teach your kids not to share on social media?
Use our family internet-use contract to keep your kid’s digital interactions under control.
Image: Popular social media icons on iPhone via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Facebook is starting to make me feel like a grump.
One of my friends posted three separate batches of photos of her toddler yesterday. There were photos from a sledding adventure, photos from afternoon playtime, and then some mom-and-son selfies to end the night. Another friend, who is a single mother, filmed her daughter opening all her Christmas gifts this year, rather than putting the camera down and experiencing a special holiday moment just between the two of them. And my own 4-year-old niece never lets us take pictures of her anymore, because she’s sick of her mother following her around with an iPhone.
Yup, it looks like I’ve reached the latest milestone in my life: I get to start complaining about baby photos!
Now I know I’m certainly not the first person to get fed up with photos on the Internet. It seems silly that I still feel the need to say anything about this. But as my friends and I are approaching our mid- to late-twenties, I’m suddenly being flooded with photos of their children. Of course I am delighted for those who have started families, and I love to see what they’re up to now. But do my friends—who are otherwise very bright and rational human beings—really not see anything wrong with hiding behind the camera every time they spend time with their kids? It saddens me that they spend so much energy documenting every move their child makes, rather than quietly savoring some of it.
I completely understand that posting photos online is a great way to update relatives who live far away. And of course it makes sense to share big moments or particularly adorable snapshots. But we really don’t need to be inundated with dozens of photos (especially if they’re blurry or practically identical to the rest in the batch!) Not to mention, this only reinforces the stereotype that we millennials are self-absorbed and narcissistic.
Personally, when my turn comes, I’m going to aim to handle things just like my best friend Sam does. Her son was born in August, and since then, I’ve seen maybe ten photos total of him online. They’re rare enough that when his face pops up in my Newsfeed, I actually feel excited to see how big he’s grown. Plus, I get the feeling she’s relishing motherhood and spending too much time with her baby and her husband to waste time sitting around on her computer. That’s my goal too.
Then again, I’m adopting a puppy this weekend. Maybe my new “fur baby” will inspire me to go on a photo rampage and I’ll be spamming all my followers with them come Monday. You never know.
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Image: Young mother with kid taking photo via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Unless you’ve been trapped under a sofa for the past couple of days, you’ve no doubt seen your friends posting their Facebook “A Look Back” movies, or have shared your own. This genius little marketing ploy to celebrate Facebook’s birthday this week (“Facebook is 10!”) automatically puts together a video slideshow of your photos and updates, set to soaring music, beginning with your very first profile picture, leading into your “first moments” on the site and most-liked posts, photos you’ve shared, and winding down with a photo collage that puts one of your recent profile pics at its center (though not always most recent, as a friend discovered when the profile pic wasn’t a snapshot of…her).
I don’t know how you feel about your “lookback” movie, but I found mine to be surprisingly stirring—like watching a touching commercial about your own life, as others have pointed out—and balanced among my personal moments, work highlights, and especially my three kids and husband, which is waaay more than I can say for the state of my photo albums. (My oldest child has five leatherbound albums from his first year alone. My youngest has one slender photobook.). Watching the little movie that Facebook made for me, it was gratifying to remember some of the best moments during the six years I’ve been on the site, especially the addition of our third child and landing my job here at Parents.
But since Facebook’s algorithm picks the pictures and updates it wants for you, these mini-documentaries aren’t always an accurate depiction of what’s most important to you. For one thing, since the algorithm favors “likes,” a tool that wasn’t even around in Facebook’s infancy, the video’s likely to include more recent pictures and posts than older ones. One friend says her daughter appeared in her movie several times, though the only photographic evidence of her son was in the form of birthday cakes she’d made for him. Another took a ribbing for numerous pictures of her cats, while her husband didn’t make the final cut. (Whoops!) Another friend is surprised the movie entirely missed the birth of her twins. Sadly, depending on how the story of your life has unfolded since you joined Facebook, there’s also the potential for pain: A friend who recently divorced said it was very hard to look at the smiling pictures of family life with her husband, back when none of them knew what was coming.
For friends who are happy about their movies and to share them, I’ve enjoyed viewing these little stories of their lives. (According to Facebook, “hundreds of millions” of Look Back videos have been made so far. And in a sure sign of their widespread success, they’re already being parodied.) Some bloggers are saying no one cares about your Facebook history and you can keep your dull Look Back video to yourself, thanks. But as someone old enough to remember being subjected to hours of home movies of relatives in Ireland sitting around a living room with a ukulele “being funny,” I know boring—and I applaud this tremendous improvement. The videos are short, sweet, and you can click on them at your own leisure, and tonight I plan to catch up on many of them with a glass of wine and my tablet in my lap. Watching friends’ pictures of children and birthdays and graduations flash across my screen, I’ve found myself welling up. (That music gets me every time!) If you didn’t like your video so much, there’s good news: Facebook plans to add an editing feature in coming days, so you can update your own movie with what you like (and not what Facebook “likes”).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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