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Is Your Missouri Babysitter Putting Your Family Online and At Risk?

Your Teenage Babysitter’s Social Media Presence Could Spell Disaster

Your children may love your sitter, and you may have all of the trust in the world in him or her.  Unlike the sitter in Chicago suspected of fracturing the skull of a nine-month-old baby, you know that your babysitter would never put your children in harm’s way.  You trust that your children are safe while you are gone. 

Regardless of how much faith you place in your sitter, be sure to know the types of child injury that your child may become the victim of at the hands of any caregiver.  Learn ways to protect your child from injury, and if your child has been the victim of a child injury, contact a Kansas City child injury attorney for answers to the questions you may have about your rights.

But if your babysitter updates social media sites, checks in his or her location, or posts pictures of your children while he or she is on the job, your family’s safety may be on the line.  Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are used by hundreds of millions of people each day.  Facebook alone is used by more than 800,000,000 users.  These sites also allow for real-time updating of pictures and posts, tagging them with information that tells others exactly when and where the pictures were taken.

How does that endanger your child?  Think of it like this: let’s assume your well-meaning babysitter snaps a photo with her smart phone of your child while she is babysitting in your home.  The picture is instantly posted to her Facebook page through an application like Instagram that adds a geographical tag.  This information alone alerts anyone with access to her page where she is and when she is there.  If she adds a comment about the cute little guy she is babysitting, prying eyes have a lot of information about the teenager, where she is, who she is with, and the fact that she is there babysitting while you are away.

Get Social

If any of this information surprises you, you may need a primer on social media and what it entails.  Research for yourself the ins and outs of social media.  Use an online search engine to find a tutorial or talk to a socially savvy teenager for the scoop on the latest social media capabilities.  Knowing the jargon will be helpful when you lay the rules out to your young babysitter. 

Establish House Rules

Explain in clear terms to your babysitter that taking photos of your children and posting them online is forbidden.  At the same time, be clear that taking any pictures with a smart phone or other device that will instantly post the pictures online is a no-no as well.  Set rules about what information he or she can give online.  Ask the sitter specifically to refrain from posting information about babysitting, location, or the fact that you will be out of the house.

When in doubt, set up your own social media page and “friend” or “follow” the babysitter.  Better yet, speak with the sitter’s parents and express your concerns.  Enlist the help of other adults to monitor the information the young sitter gives out.

Use Technology to Monitor Technology

You can sign up for a service like SafetyWeb that will monitor online activities that mention certain keywords, like your child’s name, your address, or the sitter’s name.  This service will send you alerts when and if those keywords show up in cyberspace.  If your children use some gaming systems like XBOX or Nintendo DS, they likely have access to the Internet as well.  The monitoring service can tell you if they are up and online past their designated bedtime, too.

 If your child is the victim of injury or abuse at the hands of a caregiver, be sure to contact law enforcement authorities immediately.  If you have questions about your child's legal rights, speak to a child injury attorney for further help and information.

Victor Finkelstein
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Victor Finkelstein is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers compensation, & med mal attorney

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