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Dont Drink & Post And Other Useful Common Sense

Summer is upon us and you know what that means... your social media news feed is likely filled with pictures of graduations, vacation adventures, and cocktails on the beach. What you probably do not want to see it filled with is angry ex-spouses, mad moms, and relationship drama that doesn't belong in the public eye. We have all been there. We have all been guilty at one point of over-sharing on social media not considering how well we really know the 1,579 virtual "friends" of ours on Facebook. It is important for everyone to be aware of their social media privacy settings, but crucial for those going through a divorce, custody case, or trying to co-parent effectively. Don't set yourself up for failure.

Basic things you can do to protect yourself today:

  • don't drink and post - just don't
  • turn off location services (phone, iPad, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter)
  • check your privacy settings on all social media accounts
  • take time to educate yourself on the privacy settings on Facebook
  • limit your past posts through privacy settings on Facebook
  • don't Tweet under the influence of Ambien* (although we cannot confirm that this will have any actual effect on your posting)
  • unfriend or restrict
  • require approval before being tagged in posts, but do remember even if you do not approve the tag, the tag may still be visible to some
  • do not use social media when you are upset and need to vent (easier said than done)

Posting responsibly seems clear, but when emotions strike, that area becomes a little gray. At the time you post, you believe what you're posting is acceptable and fine to share. When you hit that "share now" button, the regrets and possible consequences you will endure later are millions of miles away.

Let's use my Facebook friend "Mandy" (name has been changes to protect privacy) as an example of why it is important to use discretion when posting. Mandy is a divorced mom of a teen son and pre-teen son. Is Mandy a great mom and does she do everything for her boys? Without a doubt. Does Mandy become frustrated at her ex-husband's lack of participation and late child support payments? You bet! How do I know this? Well, because Mandy, who is a friend of a friend, someone who I will see in group settings maybe 2 or 3 times per year, shares this all on Facebook. When another "friend" of Mandy's previously questioned Mandy about her son seeing some of posts she had shared regarding his dad, her response was that her son was "blocked" from the post about his dad.

Wrong. While her son may have been directly blocked from that one post, all of us who saw the post weren't blocked from taking a screen shot. Her son's friends who were able to see the post weren't blocked from showing her son the post. All it would take is one person to screen shot the post and send it to her ex-husband.....

All the privacy settings in the world cannot stop the magical powers of a screen shot (when one can "snap" a picture of what is on the screen of their phone or iPad). There is no rewind button once your estranged friend from high school with whom you lost touch, but remain friends on social media, snaps that screen shot of your post announcing your job promotion when you are trying to have your child support lowered, or screen shot of you at the bar drinking when you're in the middle of a custody battle. It is alarming how easy it is now for that "private" post of yours only your friends can to see end up in the wrong hands.

One last reminder for social media basics - indirectly disparaging your children's other parent/spouse/ex-spouse on Facebook is much more direct than you think. Tread lightly.


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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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