Class had started. As I walked up and down the rows of desks to check homework, a student said to me as I walked by, “Your kids are cute Mrs. Degner, but they’re crazy.”
“They take after their father,” I quipped, without missing a beat.
“Wait, how do you know my kids?”
“I saw a video of them on snapchat.”
Then a few other students piped up.
“Yeah, they’re cute.”
“That was hilarious!”
“What snapchat video? I don’t have snapchat.”
“The one your babysitter posted last Friday.”
I went on with class, but the conversation caught me off guard. Questions started to seep into my head. What was in the video of my kids on snapchat? Were my kids on all of the babysitter’s social media accounts? Why would anyone think my kids were crazy? What should I say to the babysitter? Was I overreacting?
As the day went on I was angry.
What was the video of my kids on snapchat? What were they doing in that video? How did my students know these were my kids?!
And then, I started to rationalize. I mean, I posted pictures of my kids on Facebook and Instagram all the time. I overshared their milestones and funny stories on social media daily. I was probably overreacting.
But that night at dinner:
“Hey, you aren’t in trouble, but some of my students said they saw a video of you on snapchat that you made with the babysitter last weekend.”
“Are we famous?!”
“Did they like it?!”
“Did they say we were funny?!”
“Yeah, they said you were funny. What were you doing in the video?”
“We were standing on the coffee table.”
“Yeah, dancing on the coffee table. The babysitter thought it was funny.”
“We sang, We Like Big Butts and We Cannot Tell a Lie.”
“How do you know that song?”
“Our babysitter taught us.”
“Well, don’t dance on the coffee table anymore OK? And don’t say butt. And don’t do things people tell you to do just because they tell you to do them. And don’t make anymore snapchat videos.”
We never hired that babysitter again, but I never spoke to her about that incident either. And believe it or not, I didn’t talk to our next babysitter about not posting pictures or videos of my kids on social media.
A few years ago we hired our newest summer babysitter. One of the first days she started she said to me, “How do you feel about social media? Do you mind if I post pictures of your kids at the park or on our other adventures?”
I smiled to myself as I drove to work that day. This babysitter was a keeper–someone had taught her well. She initiated the conversation about my kids that I should have initiated ten years ago. Thank God for babysitters like her.