My mother-in-law puts my kids all over Facebook.

God help me, my mother-in-law has discovered Facebook. She puts pictures of my kids on it all the time, whenever my husband sends them to her. But she doesn’t know how to do the privacy settings and it creeps me out that there are possible strangers looking at my children online and commenting on them. She is also friends with people she barely knows. Am I being overprotective? How do I ask her to be more careful?

My mother-in-law is on Facebook, too. The only questionable thing she’s ever done is comment on my son’s Halloween costume picture; he was dressed as a pirate and she said he was cute, but that pirates are terrorists. I’m not sure if she was joking or taking the opportunity to make a stand against pirates, but I didn’t ask.

You, however, shouldn’t let it go if you’re uncomfortable. The easiest way to ask is to say, “Hey, Judy, I noticed that your Facebook photos are all public. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with just anyone being able to see the kids. Do you mind if I help you change your settings so that only your friends can see them?” (See how easy it is to be straightforward and honest?)

As far as how overprotective you are, I don’t know. I’m not sure I see the harm, but I think it’s all about your comfort level. I know a woman whose son is on a national TV show, and she doesn’t seem to mind that is face is all over the place all the time, so Facebook doesn’t seem like a huge deal. What’s going to happen? I don’t know any statistics and am too lazy to look them up, but are there really any kids who are stolen or stalked because their pictures were on social media? Are your mother-in-law’s friends commenting and saying things, “Hey, those kids are cute. I’m going to kidnap them!” or are they saying things like, “Congratulations on your beautiful family!” That might give you a clue as to how worried you should be.

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