I’m writing an article on protective behaviours and thought it was so important that I share some of the safeguards that we use online with Ella Grace. We live a pretty public life but there are a few key areas that we are especially vigilant on in order to protect her.
1. NO LIVE POSTING
If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that very rarely do we live post unless we’re on holiday somewhere really far away or have a specific event that we have agreed to live post on. It’s why I only instastory at night and not always on the same day. This helps me help her keep safe from strangers knowing our schedule, where we are at what time or even knowing where we are right now.
2. NO SCHOOL PICTURES
Every mama has their crazy and this is certifiably mine. I am fiercely protective of people knowing where Ella Grace goes to school and we are very strict about not posting any school pictures online at all. I also made up Ella Grace’s very non-descript uniform and the days that she does wear a school shirt, we either change after or I just don’t post any pictures of her in it. I also delete any comments that make any reference to her school or her school friends (please be mindful of other people’s littles too!) and we don’t let her school post any marketing material that has her face on it.
3. NO SPECIFICS
While we do share a lot online, we are quite strict about not posting specifics like which playgroups we go to or what days we plan on going to it, what days her activities are and where, which pediatricians she sees, what events we are attending together for the week (unless it’s a specific meet and greet). Again, it’s so no one really can keep track of your routine or whereabouts and even if they figure it out, it takes a lot more work, thus making your little less vulnerable to being a victim.
4. NO HASHTAGS
I have quite a few hashtags that I use for work but Ella Grace doesn’t have a generic one that I use for all her posts. While it isn’t that hard to put her face to her name or how she’s definitely prominently featured on most of my posts (hi mama ), this is usually suggested so pedophiles don’t have instant easy access to a catalog of your child’s pictures.
5. NO PRIVATE PHOTOS / NO BIKINIS
In line with that, I also am really protective about the kind of photos she takes. Strictly no naked photos, photos of her on the toilet, photos of her in any compromising position or wearing anything that wouldn’t be considered as modest swimwear. If we are on a photoshoot and she has to change outfits, I make sure that she does it either in a private area or that the photographer puts down his/her gear.
6. NO ADDRESSES
To protect ourselves and our friends, if I post a location of a home, it is usually quite generic. We have a mailing box for partnership deliveries and I don’t give out our home address and try to avoid even mentioning the area if I can.
7. NO PERSONALIZED ANYTHING
While my OCD heart loves personalized anything, I don’t personalize or embroider her name on her clothes, lunchbox, backpack, uniform, water bottle, etc. I might label it in a discreet place but never big enough that anyone off the street would immediately know her name by looking at it or if there was a picture taken of her, it’s not instantly, her name is Ella Grace and she looks like this. Remember for little ones, if a stranger knows their name and calls them, they might go to them as they are still learning the difference between a nice stranger and trusted friend.
8. WOULD SHE MIND IF SHE READ/SAW THIS?
This is what I always come to when I’m writing stories or using her as my example, would she mind if she read or saw this as an adult later? Am I being respectful of her story and her journey? Am I using her story in the right way or is it just to make fun of her and something she might be embarassed of later?
While it’s a lot more trickier for us to keep her sheltered online, it’s a decision that my husband and I made together. We sat down and discussed the safeguards we felt passionately about and made sure that we had plans in place to keep her safe.
Not everyone will have the same amount of mama bear crazy, my hope in sharing this is that you’ll be able to make an informed decision for whatever works for your family.
Everyone parents differently and that’s okay. Share this but don’t judge. Protect your mama tribe but don’t shame. Awareness is key and I know this with all my heart that mamas standing up and showing up for one another can change the world.
Let’s keep those babies safe!