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Pediatricians may start asking parents what they're posting on social media

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The next time your child has a check-up, the pediatrician might have some new question for you. Don't be surprised if the doctor wants to know what you're posting on Facebook. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - The next time your child has a check-up, the pediatrician might have some new questions for you. Don't be surprised if the doctor wants to know what you're posting on Facebook.

The journal Pediatrics just published a commentary offering guidelines for pediatricians to talk to parents about social media.

The author pointed out, long before a child takes their first steps, they've likely left a digital footprint.

Dr. Elizabeth Meade, a pediatrician from Swedish Medical Center, says it's important for pediatricians to talk to parents about what they post online. She says It's part of keeping kids safe and healthy.

"Everything that we're putting on there about our kids, is that something that they're going to want to have out in the internet for all to see forever? And that's really how we have to think about when posting about our kids. That lives in that space forevermore," said Dr. Meade.

"We don't have family all here in Washington and so it's just a quick and easy way to get that information out," said Erin McCollough of Issaquah.

Camden recently celebrated his fourth birthday, an event mom marked on Facebook.

"I don't pick up the phone and call relatives all the time, and I know they're on social media," said McCollough.

McCollough said she already monitors Camden's screen time - and knows someday, he'll want his own social media profile.

"He likes to watch certain things on Youtube. Right now he's probably watching marble mazes," she said.

In the meantime, McCollough decides what gets shared online - with some advice from the doctor.

Dr. Meade recommends parents read privacy settings on the sites they use and be particularly careful with medical information, full names and birthdates.

"There's identify theft, even of children. There's this new phenom of digital kidnapping where people are actually taking photos of other people's children and posting them as if they were their own kids," said Dr. Meade.

Another tip from Dr. Meade - set a Google alert with your child's full name, that way if someone else posts something, you'll find out about it.


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