Reader Question: The Ranty Bride Tackles In-Laws and Social Media

When this email dropped in my inbox, I just HAD to share it with The Ranty Bride and ask her to respond. AND DID SHE. Read on, y'all, as Le Rant tackles in-laws, social media, and privacy issues:

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Image Courtesy of: Good Enough Mother

My Mother-in-Law has been oversharing photos of our child - at times to complete strangers. We have asked her stop on two occasions and, to help further eliminate the problem, have stopped sharing photos with her all together.

My Sister-in-Law (husband's brother's wife) has a photo of our child on her cell. Mother-in-Law was very upset that my husband and I shared a photo with our Sister-in-Law but not her. She harassed Sister-in-Law until she shared the pic with our Mother-in-Law – who then shared the photo with at least 10 others via text, some of whom we do not know. How do we handle this situation? My Sister-in-Law has since been made aware of the problem and has been asked not to enable my Mother-in-Law.

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Image Courtesy of: My Wedding Dream

Dearest reader - 

Did I write this while doped up on migraine meds? Because this could have been me.

I fully believe that parents SHOULD NOT BE ON FACEBOOK. So, I'm biased. What's new, right?

Assuming your parents are in the same age bracket as my parents and in-laws, I can tell you with near certainty that they Just. Don't. Get. It. They see Facebook and other sharing technology as the newest way to share/brag to their friends. Problem is, it doesn't even remotely occur to them that they are sharing with their friends, and their friends' friends, and occasionally YOUR friends, and people they only know from Farm/City/Cafe Land/Ville, and, potentially, random creepers, because god knows there's no freaking way they have appropriate privacy settings established.

And I assume the concern with your child's pictures has more to do with the potential for MIL to be sharing with random creepers, which I completely get.

First off, you've had the discussion with MIL and SIL. Hopefully SIL gets where you're coming from – if she's in your age group, I hope she will be a good ally for you (though, from experience, just because they're younger than the parents doesn't mean they're not worse at oversharing). Maybe she can explain it to your MIL in a way that expresses that, sadly, there are a lot of random creepers out on the Internet, and everyone knows she's proud and wants to share her grandchildren with the world, but once she posts something out there, no one can get it back. It's sad that parents today have to be concerned about that, but it's a real concern, and your MIL needs to respect your wishes from that standpoint.

Second, she's just not going to understand why you get to share pictures with other people and she can't. Answer: because you're the parents. But grandparents are used to being YOUR parents and running the show - and it has likely been that way since the beginning of time ("Oh, look at little Johnny's cave picture, I TOLD you he was just so talented!"). So, would it be possible for you and your husband to get a small photo album printed out that she can share? There are a few places online that will let you print out some mini ones that aren't very expensive. That might help her feel included and allow her to brag to her friends, but, being a physical printed book, it will help mitigate the possibility of a bunch of randoms seeing your kids all over the web. At least you'll know that the resolution will be crappy if she decides to take a pic of the album with her phone and text everyone.

It's different because we're not as concerned about creepers, but we've created a few Picasa web albums of wedding pictures for family and friends to share. We know whatever we put in there might go out to the entire free world and have made it semi-public so our parents' weird friends can view the pictures, too. I don't get why they want to, but, whatever – parents are weird. Beyond those, though, we have expressly told MIL that she is NOT to share photos of our wedding online, namely because she has no filter that says, "This one where Liz is half undressed with Spanx up to her boobs and giving me the finger? Maybe I won't post that one." She doesn't like it, but if she wants to get to see anything, she has to respect our wishes. I'm hopeful that giving your MIL something she CAN share will help.

And, as much as it sucks, you're probably going to have to limit what you share – especially with the rest of his family – if you don't want it getting thrown all over the Internet. I'm in the same boat and HATE it, but not sharing certain things is the easiest way to keep them from being overshared. And if her other family members are like, "Seriously, you're ruining OUR chances to see photos of the kid because you won't stop posting the damn things on Facebook," the peer pressure might work in your favor, too.

Just remember – it's only a matter of time before your kid will be old enough to say, "Grandma, stop being so ANNOYING."

Good luck!

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Image Courtesy of: The Marriage Counseling Blog

So how about it, Tulle Nation – do you agree with The Ranty Bride's advice? Are any of your in a similiar position? How did you handle this?