Share with Care
Share Your Story is a warm community filled with families who have loved, lost, survived, cried, rejoiced and mourned during their time in the NICU. It's a place where families understand those terrifying moments with a seriously ill child, where a new preemie parent can seek and find comfort, where a mom can learn more about her child's rare condition. Because of the sensitive, emotional nature of Share, it's easy to let our guards down. But Share Your Story is a place where we need to "share with care."
Search engines like Google are a double-edged sword. They help families who desperately need our community find us. But they can also expose our community to those few people who abuse our openness.
Here is a set of tips for safe online interaction. We don't mean to scare you; we want you and your children to be safe. Share Your Story should be a blessing, not a liability. If you take precautions, you can safely tell your story, share your child's photos and experiences, and meet new, understanding friends. To help you have a positive experience on Share, here's our "Top 10 List for Internet Safety."
- It's all in a name. When creating your user I.D., avoid using your real first AND last names or the real first and last names of your children- unless you are sure you want people to know exactly who you and your children are.
- Search yourself! Go to any search engine like Google, type in your name and search for yourself. You may be surprised! Share is an open site. Any search engine can find your blog and posts. Anything you say can be saved and read for months to come.
- Reveal with care. What we learn about others online is usually just one "slice." Never give your phone number or address to someone you meet online unless you're SURE who they are and you are willing to have phone or visitor contact. Don't give your user I.D. or password to others.
- Choose your words wisely. You don't have to be a Share member to read posts here. Anyone can read what you write: your mother-in-law, your boss, your spouse, your religious advisor, your mortgage lender, your baby's neonatologist. You never know who's watching... "She said WHAT?!" Remember, old friends and your mom may regularly read your blog!
- The doctor is in...and may not like seeing his or her name in your online posting. Protect the identity of your helping (or not so helpful) professionals. Tell the story, or share a name. But don't say both.
- Picture *This*... Your pictures reveal a lot about you and your baby! Be sure they are something you'd show your mentor, your best friend AND the local paper. Many of us have pictures of ourselves as naked babies, but they're not posted on the Internet for all to see. Protect your baby's privacy. Please don't post naked pictures of your children. NICU pictures are OK.
- Share only what is yours. Think twice before posting pictures or quotes that do not belong to you. You may find yourself in copyright trouble.
- Not everything you read is factual. Just because someone typed it, doesn't mean it's real. When we're feeling strong emotions, we may write something we would not otherwise write. Sometimes we say things that are not real in order to work through an emotion or idea.
- Read generously and assume good intent. Don't be too quick to judge another's words. In the online world, we can't hear the tone of another person's voice, see her body language or know the context in which he's writing. So we may mistakenly take offense and respond in haste.
- Face-to-face with caution. Over time, many people become friends online and want to meet in person. Take care and be sure you have your first meeting in a public place.