Once you become a parent, your Facebook personality often grows a new life as well. Suddenly, you possess an unbeatable way to share pictures of your little one, an avenue to join the crusade against those unsafe sippy cups, and a virtual pub to consort with others who are up at the ungodly hours you're now intimately familiar with. And that's all fine and good. But certain common behaviors among new parents can spell trouble. Are you guilty of any?
1. Paging Dr. Facebook: It's one thing to ask if anyone in your friend circle has tried and true croup remedies, or to survey some opinions on which brand of diaper isn't prone to massive blowouts (are there any?) But it's quite another to treat your friend list like it's the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Unless, of course, your friend list actually is The American Academy of Pediatrics.) Let's repeat: Facebook does not wear a white lab coat. It's simple, really: if your baby has symptoms you're concerned about, refer to a physician, not a wall post.
2. Investing in Embarrassment: Yes, we all swore that we'd never be that parent: the one giving details of their child's every diaper, the one broadcasting every adorable-but-inappropriate thing their kiddo says. But on Facebook, these moms and dads are a dime a dozen--and worst of all, their kids don't have a say, or recourse. Before you post that picture proving how far little Aidan puked, or detail the embarrassing mistake your 4 year-old made with his underwear, think of those children ten years from now. And how it's generally easier if they don't hate you.
3. Forgetting Privacy Settings: The numbers are shocking: a huge amount of people refuse to take advantage of the privacy settings that can keep their coworkers, strangers, or -- let's face it, their strange coworkers -- from ogling all aspects of their Facebook lives. But when your kids are involved, there's no excuse not to. It's not just you anymore. And what's a more important part of parenthood than trying your best to keep your children safe?
4. All Baby, All the Time: You might feel connected to other parents in a way that you've never felt before, and you might even feel a new purpose in parenthood that seems to suit you better than anything in the world. And perhaps you even like looking at pictures of your child more than pictures of yourself (you still haven't figured out that bangs situation.) But holding on to your non-parent friends is important, too, for your own sanity. And if you don't ever post anything that makes people remember you're a person aside from your child, you're not doing much to keep that connection going. And isn't keeping connections going the whole purpose of Facebook?
Follow Andrea Bonior on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drandreabonior