Child Custody,  Coparenting

Social Media Is Not Always Your Friend

Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. can all be fun and entertaining. They have their uses. They’re great tools for building a business platform. Facebook is an excellent way to stay in touch or even get back in touch with family and friends. Interesting people and topics can be found daily. And, the cat videos! We love those, right?

However, you should be careful what you post because it can come back and bite you in the… umm…nether region.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to squash all your fun. But, if you’re a divorced/separated parent and posting pictures of yourself in a drunken stupor or high (although I don’t recommend either…pics or not) and hanging all over different people, I can almost promise you these will become evidence one day in court.

It’s important that you not post negative comments about the other parent online. Your social media savvy child might see them. Not only that, the courts like it when parents get along. They like to see parents who put their children’s needs ahead of their own. They want to see parents c0-parenting their child. So, if all they see (and they will if you’re in court) is you bad-mouthing the other parent all across social media, they’re not going to think you’re the best parent. They’re not going to think you’re capable of co-parenting effectively.

I’m not saying you can’t vent with someone you trust. Just do it in person, or over the phone, and make sure the children can’t overhear.

Another thing to consider:  if you do something that you think is just “so totally cute” with your child that could look potentially dangerous or have side effects that could be dangerous and take a picture of it to upload, well guess what? You’re setting yourself up for problems.

Someone who doesn’t know you, could see those pictures and think you’re not a fit parent and call Child Protective Services. Once CPS is involved, you have a whole other world of problems.

Or, if you and the other parent are separated, going through custody litigation/divorce or even if other family members are not exactly your biggest fan, these pictures could be used to cause you problems in court. And, just because you and the other parent are together now, doesn’t mean you always will be. These pictures can become fodder for any future custodial war.

Even if you have your facebook settings so only “friends” can view your photos and comments, that doesn’t mean someone isn’t going to show them to your ex. Attorneys are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social networks and are subpoenaing records for these sites. So nothing is really safe from anyone these days. Deleting doesn’t help. There’s always a record. There’s always screenshots. Just don’t do it in the first place.

Let’s say for instance you place your toddler in the refrigerator for a picture because you’re convinced this is just so darn cute! Some may consider this a poor parenting decision.

Why? 1) The child is now toddling, getting into things and mommy (or daddy) put him in there so surely it’s okay to play in there. Right? 2) So, what’s to stop the child from climbing on in? 3) What happens if the door closes and he can’t get out?

So, maybe you think too much is being made of just a picture. Fine. But, have you ever seen a child who’s been suffocated in an old refrigerator? Believe me. You don’t want to.

And, those who may get involved with your family because of pictures or comments you post online or because of custody litigation, (such as CPS caseworkers or custody evaluators) are people who are going to think about the long term consequences and whether the decisions you make are good ones or ones that could cause potential harm to your child.

Who do you think looks like a better parent? The one who has pictures of their child in fun/safe non-controversial outings or the parent who is always going out on the edge just to get a laugh from their friends? The parent who posts pictures of family get-togethers and child friendly activities or the one who posts drunken party pictures?

I don’t necessarily think that pictures tell the whole story. However, if you’re the one posting the negative pictures and comments, you’re starting with a deficit in court. And, it’s hard to overcome something that is there for all to see with their own eyes.

You can try, but it’s hard to deny you drink to excess or make poor decisions if there’s photographic or written evidence to the contrary.

Be careful and think before you post. Once something is out in cyber-land, it’s pretty much out there for all time. Just use logic and common sense about what you share on the social networks and you’ll be fine.

Originally posted at rhondahopkins.com. This article may have been amended to fit the needs of this site.

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