If you use social media to share parenting experiences and advice, you’re not alone. But could you be revealing too much while you’re “sharenting”? Here’s how parents on social media can find a smart balance.

Sharing your life—including your family life—on social media has become a fact of life

  • Almost three quarters of parents with kids ages newborn to 4 said that social media made them feel like they were not alone, according to a 2014 survey.
  • Some 70 percent used various platforms, forums, and blogs to get advice from more experienced parents, and 62 percent said it helped them worry less.
  • Among the hot topics parents sought info on: sleep (28% of parents), nutrition (26%), and discipline (19%).
6 Tips for Smart Sharing on Social Media

“Sharenting” (as sharing parenting information online is sometimes called) clearly helps. At the same time, well over half of parents in the survey recognized the potential pitfalls of sharing too much information about their child. They reported knowing fellow parents on social media who had given embarrassing information about a child, offered personal information that could identify a child’s location, or shared inappropriate photos of a child. Other risks include identity theft or strangers repurposing a child’s photo.

To avoid oversharing and strike a safe balance:

Use privacy settings to control who can see what you post. It’s one thing for Grandma to see certain personal information but another for total strangers to have it.

Weed your followers or create special private lists. You may have amassed big lists of Facebook friends before you had kids, but now choose to limit who sees your kid updates. Consider creating select lists of people whom you really know and trust with this info.

Pay attention to the privacy policies of the sites and apps you use. Each is different; don’t assume they’re all alike. Note that privacy policies can change, so what’s safe today may not be safe tomorrow. Parents on social media are wise to pay attention to privacy policy updates so they can react accordingly.

Think twice about each social post. Remember that information released digitally has the potential to float around forever. Ask yourself, “Will my child be embarrassed by a picture or story that I tell today? Will it seem too personal from his point of view later?”

Avoid sharing about other people’s kids. Posting photos or traceable stories about friends’ and relatives’ children should be their decision, not yours.

When in doubt, stick to generalities. The Internet can be a great source of tips and advice. Consider asking questions and posting answers about parenting issues without getting into personal specifics about your child’s life.