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Restraining Order Etiquette

Some parents post every tiny detail of their child’s life on Facebook and other social media sites. Other parents shield their children from social media with every ounce of their being. If you are one of the posting parents, you may want to rush straight home from your daughter’s school play to post the adorable video on your Facebook page. But you shouldn’t – and here’s why.

Consider a situation where a single mom and her two kids just moved into your neighborhood and started school where your children attend. You know nothing of her background and meet her for the first time at that school play. You talk casually about how cute the play is and then go about your day, which includes posting the video of the play on your Facebook page and/or YouTube for your friends and family to see. But, what if this mother and her children moved to escape an abusive relationship? Further, what if there is a Family Violence Protective Order in place that the father is to have no contact with the family and he currently does not even know where they are living and going to school? Your innocent post has possibly opened the door to this father finding out where the family is and coming after them in contravention of the protective order. While this certainly was not your intention, it is an unfortunate result of your actions.

If you have not experienced the fear of having to file a protective order from a spouse or other family member, it is likely the farthest thing from your mind when you post a picture or video of your children and their friends to social media. In this ever-increasing age of technology and social media, however, the courteous thing would be to ask all parents whose children appear in the picture/video whether you have their permission to post it online. Whether there is a protective order to consider or not, many parents may just choose to keep information about their children off the Internet. If there is an option to blur a child out or otherwise remove them, this may solve the problem. Otherwise, the polite thing to do as a parent is to refrain from posting.

 

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