Swearing off social media to protect kids' digital legacy

Long before today’s 30-somethings became the first generation of parents whose children would come of age alongside technology, Molly Walker had pretty much sworn off social media.

It started, ironically despite a career in technology, some 10 years ago when she decided to leave corporate America to teach high school robotics and programming.

Walker discovered that instead of hanging out with friends, her students were sitting at home Facebooking each other.

“I saw the impact it was having and thought it was the social undoing of our society,” she said. “I vowed never to be on any consumer social media site.”

Although her friends warned her she’d “cave” the Sandy Springs mother of three said that when she gave birth to baby number two five years ago, she was more sure than ever.

While it seemed everybody and their mother was uploading photos and videos of their children on social media sites, Walker had officially joined the growing number of parents who’d decided to buck the trend.

“The thought of putting my kids out there was horrifying,” Walker said. “It’s not that I’m paranoid or over protective. We moved here because I wanted my kids to feel free to run door to door but you just have no idea who is looking at your kids and why on the computer.”

Walker said she worries that once any data is shared on the information super highway it’s no longer within our control. Thus opening personal privacy and children’s personal information to compromise.

Lest you think the 37-year-old mother of three is a complete technology snub, Walker recently signed on for KidsLink, an innovative and invitation-only app that allows parents to organize their children’s vital records, milestones and memories with the swipe of a finger.

In addition to KidsLink, some parents are turning to MeWe, launched recently by the online privacy company, Sgrouples Inc., as a way to protect their children’s privacy.

KidsLink, created by a group of metro Atlanta parents and entrepreneurs, combines the best of a trusted social network with a highly secure filing system via three key features: the Stream, Vault and Storyboard. Using the Stream, parents can privately connect with close and trusted family and friends. The Storyboard auto-scrapbooks special moments and organizes them chronologically, eliminating the need to weed through photos and recall dates, while the Vault provides a secure place to keep and access your children’s art, insurance cards and immunization records. Vault files can be shared with family, caregivers and healthcare providers as needed.

In a pilot program of 2,500 moms in select Atlanta preschools, moms raved about how the free app gave them immediate access to information without having to dig through piles of paperwork, eliminated “baby book guilt” and allowed them to share special moments privately.

“I love how easy it is to record my children’s milestones, especially with my new baby when milestones are happening almost daily,” said Lauren Campbell of Dunwoody. “With three kids, things get busy and those events can easily be forgotten. However KidsLink makes is so easy to not only capture all 3 of my kids’ special moments, but also let’s me safely share those moments with only my closest friends and family. “

Walker said a friend told her about KidsLink about a month ago and she was particularly intrigued with the side of organizing.

“For me it’s almost like a personal assistant. I can upload pictures of my kids insurance cards, their artwork, their report card. I can store their medical forms there. It’s really more of an archive for my children, carefully planned and protected.”

Atlanta’s Piedmont Healthcare has partnered with KidsLink to help parents keep track of health records and receive immediate health alert notifications, ensuring that they never miss a child’s wellness visit or important public health information.

“What I love about KidsLink is that it’s a lifestyle app that integrates health and wellness,” said Matt Gove, chief marketing officer for Piedmont Healthcare. “This is an opportunity to reach moms with vital information and help keep her children’s health at her fingertips.”

According to Titania Jordan, one of the founders of the app, KidsLink launched Sept. 23 after she and the other parents realized that of all the hundreds of apps in the market, not a single one could serve as the home base for parents.

Using KidsLink, she said, parents can manage their lives from their smart phones with a simple swipe of the finger but still protect their children’s digital legacy and share responsibly.

Although parents were becoming more social, using existing social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn was so segmented. Not everybody is on one and security was iffy. Parents were having to make social media work for their needs, on networks with questionable privacy.

“Our aim is not only to be a social network but an organizational utility designed for parents,” Jordan said.

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