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May 31

Social Media and your Babysitter

So you think you are up on social media? You have heard about and may even use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, child and nannyTumblr, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Vine.

But do you know the other social media sites and applications kids are using? Heard of Whisper, Yik Yak, Burn Note, ooVoo and Kik Messenger? That’s right! There are more and more outlets every day that enable us (and particularly teens) to communicate in new ways. Wikipedia’s alphabetical listing of social networking sites passes 50 in number by the time it gets to F, as in Facebook.

[A cheat sheet is included at the bottom for anyone scratching their heads right now!]

Technology and social media in particular opens up new ways for you to stay connected to your home – i.e. your kids and babysitter or nanny – that did not exist previously. That is wonderful!

But… You need to be clear about the rules of the road for its use. This should absolutely be one of the things to discuss in very clear terms and even better, document on your babysitter board or its equivalent.

And the first thing you should do is find out what social media your babysitter or nanny uses. Don’t be shy! Life is busy and social media moves fast. Find out what they are using and then how it is used. Then decide what you are comfortable using for communicating with each other or more widely.

Next, set the rules for what is okay for your babysitter or nanny to post that includes your kids. You want to consider whether you are comfortable with your kids’ image, name, location or situation (i.e. home without parents) being online. If you are comfortable with some combination of the above, ensure that you are notified of posts.

Agree what types of communication you want to have whilst you are away. Do you want those super cute moments captured and texted to you? Do you want a live stream of how activities are going (homework done, veggies eaten, teeth brushed, good night routine)? Set rules for taking images and photos of your kids away on their devices.

One word of warning – be sensible: if your babysitter or nanny is texting you every 5 minutes how is she or he paying attention to the kids? And what are you getting done? Also have clear rules on when devices should be down – like when driving or watching the kids on the playground or in the pool.

And don’t forget your children. Kids today are glued to their devices. Talk frankly with your nanny or babysitter about what apps and sites are allowed and when devices need to be put away.

Finally: Here is a quick run-down if you DID NOT know any of the social media sites we mentioned:

Twitter – 140 character microblogs called tweets

Instagram – app for positing pictures and short videos, both publically and to private networks

Tumblr – short streaming blogs (tumblogs) including text, audio, video and photos

Snapchat – app for messaging (including pictures and videos) that disappear after a set period of time; note that this is increasingly becoming a standard means of communications for kids today

WhatsApp – app to send text, audio, photos and images directly to one person or a group

Vine – app for posting short videos

Whisper – app for putting out messages (that are paired with an image) anonymously

Yik Yak – short messaging app that is accessible to the 500 closest users

Burn Note – app for messaging (text only) that deletes messages after a set period

ooVoo – app for messaging, voice and video, including a group chat function

Kik Messenger – app that lets you text for free

Facebook – if you do not know this one, well...more than 1.5 billion people on earth are using it so worth checking it out to be a little more current!

Do you need to find a babysitter or nanny before you even start thinking about this? You have come to the right place. SOSitter.ca is a Canadian portal designed to help you find local caregivers in your area, easily and quickly. The caregiver who is right for your family is only a click away.

 

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