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At what age should children be given the choice of whether their parents use their name and image on Facebook?
I asked my 15-year-old what she thought about this on the way to school this morning just as she took a really horrible photo of me driving. I had 3 chins, the lighting was not flattering and I’d missed some zit cream on my cheek.
“You wouldn’t want me to put this on Instagram, right mom?” Point made. “You can have control until I’m old enough to have my own account, but you’re my mom. I know you’re not putting anything out there which would embarrass or hurt me, I can’t see or is inappropriate.”
I explained I don’t use her real name, but refer to her on social media as “Bean.” She rolled her eyes and informed me her “life was now over and she could never face her friends again.”
Overall, I think Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. I love nothing more than seeing my friends’ pictures of their children or reading something funny their child said.
As a child becomes a young adult, and this age is different for every child, she becomes old enough to take control of her own sharing and, if you’ve given the right guidance, can manage her own social media accounts responsibly. When this happens, I’m sure my children will give me plenty of guidelines — and I will respect them.
Both my daughters are Instagram users and we have strict rules which are enforced to keep them accountable and safe.
If my daughter asked me not to post a photo of her or tag her, I would respect her request at any age. She goes on Facebook using my account, which is very PG. The most inappropriate thing she’d be exposed to on any of my feeds would be a hard-to-swallow news article, like the bodies of refugee children washing up on beaches. But we would talk about it.
I know my children trust me to protect them from embarrassment and danger. I know I am setting an example of how to behave online and I take that role seriously.
My daughters and I communicate. We talk about online safety and how to use blocks and parental software to ensure their safety and enjoyment.
Bean deleted that horrible, early-morning photo and didn’t post it because I asked her not to. We respect each other’s boundaries. I know she’ll tell me when she is ready to control her own online presence and we’ll talk about it.
Michelle Roses is a Mother, shark diver, reporter, dancer and Wonder Woman. Her work has been published by Inc, Slate, and The Huffington Post. You can read more from Quora here: