Social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and online forums can be such an asset in a single parents life. They provide the ability to stay in touch with friends and family, help communication with exes, monitor children as they are apart, and offer support with likeminded families, and even have the ability to meet and date other singles.
Getting in touch with old friends is a fun way to catch up and find contacts to hang out with when you get the chance, but don’t limit yourself to the past. Making new friends online may give you the chance to meet people that better fit your lifestyle today. Online forums are for sharing stories and resources in the same way women have for all time except in an online forum setting. This companionship is priceless.
When there is a split with children involved, it may be easy to think you want to completely disconnect from your ex, but online networks can be the connection to your children when they are with them. They may post pictures that keep you reassured that your children are indeed having a good time and are where they said they would be. If you are not ready to see your ex dating again or living carefree then there are definitely times to cut that online connection. A healthy conversation about what you will vow to post and not post online about your past relationship can curb any awkwardness your mutual friends may also feel about your split. Don’t let online networks divide you further from your children and friends; instead let it bridge that gap.
Dating online, whether through a service or just your social network, has its pros and cons. It is a very convenient format to get to know someone with no strings attached. There is no obligation to advance the friendship if you are not attracted. Keep true to who you are and don’t journey outside your comfort zone when chatting with someone online. Take baby steps to discover if you have a great deal in common and remember that online conversation is no substitute for an in-person meeting. Be safe when you do decide to meet in person by meeting in a public place and by bringing another couple to join you. Don’t let online dating go from the chat room to the psychiatrist’s couch; have your expectations and be prepared.
Many single parents develop web sites and post their kids’ pictures online for their distance family and friends to see. Often using MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites. You need to consider the possibility that your children’s images can be viewed and you have absolutely no control whatsoever to what happens to that image. As a single mother it is important to note that putting photos of you and your children online can cause you to become a target. Never post your location in the photos and be sure to remove your geo-tag, which may pinpoint your location without you even knowing. Photo sites can easily be used and password protected or limit who has access to your photos by paying attention to your settings.
There are several things a single mother should never publicly list online: location, children’s names and ages, identifying information, financial information, and your planned activities. Safety should be of utmost importance when using the Internet. You would never allow your child to list this information and we should be wary of doing it ourselves.
Even if you are too exhausted or under too many deadlines to keep in touch in the traditional way of phone calls, play dates, and dinners, online networking is an outlet to stay in touch with the world. You can scan the members of a forum and see you are not the only one going through your current issues or you can see other single moms online at 2am during your last status update before bed. You can reach out and ask questions that you may not know where or how to ask elsewhere. While it is important as you social network to not let it become an addiction and to minimize the time you spend online, a healthy dose of adult conversation online is essential.