As its name suggests, Rich Kids of Instagram is a diary of excess. The Tumblr blog, which has become a viral sensation, chronicles the overconsumption of today's ridiculously wealthy kids. Kids that are oversharing their personal excess with hashtags along the lines of #mansion, #myownbowlingalley, #ferrari, and #versace. But it's not just their clueless bragging that has me — and a lot of other parents — worried. It's their clueless oversharing about the personal details of their life — where they are, whom they're with, and how much money they are spending that really has me concerned. Because these are the details that many teens have simply grown accustomed to sharing with the click of a button. And it's these details that could get any teen into trouble with someone who means them harm.
One of the stories that made the Rich Kids of Instagram site so widely popular recently was that of Alexa Dell - daughter of billionaire computer mogul Michael Dell. Alexa was apparently a big fan of Twitter, and was in the habit of tweeting her exact location including travel plans and future shopping trips. When Alexa posted a photo of her brother Zachary on a private jet, stuffing his face wth a gourmet lunch on their way to Fiji, lots of people took notice. Including the Dell family security team who promptly took the photo down (and shut down Alexa's Twitter account.)
But put the ridiculous pricetag aside, and it boils down to the fact that Alexa was posting a family picture of her brother on their way to a vacation. It seems harmless enough, but it's just the kind of thing that kids should not be sharing online. In fact, it's #23 on an insightful post written over two years ago entitled, "30 Things You Should Not Share on Social Media" by social media expert Jeff Bullas. It's a list that's worth revisiting with your own kids from time to time, particularly items #12, #13, #26, and the aforementioned #23.
Today's teens are growing up online. They are used to instantly tweeting their thoughts, YouTubing their homework projects, and Facebooking with friends, family, and acquaintances. So it's very easy to see how the lines have become blurred between what they should and should not share on social media. A funny story about something that happened in chemistry class? Sure. Their excitement over an upcoming shopping trip (including how much they plan to spend?) Definitely not.
Do you know what your kids are sharing online? And what sites they are using to do their sharing? It's a good time to ask, and talk about what they should and should not consider posting on the web for all the world to see.
Have your kids ever posted anything online that you wished they hadn't?