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On-line Safety - by Melanie Notkin


Today’s modern cosmopolitan woman is most likely active in various different web channels, be it Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, or tighter-knit social networking sites like SavvyAuntie. Your content often feels more personal than public, and we sometimes forget that our information, including pictures and more personal details, are not as private as we would like to think.  Keeping that in mind, what do you do when a family member, be it a niece, cousin, sister or brother, has content online that could get them into trouble or worse?
Understandably it’s a delicate and difficult situation to navigate.  A few months ago a Savvy Auntie contributor’s little niece- the one who used to borrow her lipstick and smear it all over her face! - posted very suggestive photos of herself on her MySpace profile. The auntie panicked, not least of all because she’d recently read about a teenage girl being sued for child pornography after snapping and distributing explicit photos of herself.
How do you toe the line between being a peer and an authority figure? You want to be the cool aunt (or sister or cousin) and most importantly, you don’t want to lose the trust of your family member. So do you go straight to the parents? It depends. It’s important to take into account the nature of your relationship, but for our SavvyAuntie contributor, she opted to first chat with her niece and then to approach her parents if her niece didn’t respond.  Fortunately in our auntie’s case, all she had to do was clearly outline to her niece the dangers and the lack of privacy online, and her niece quickly removed the pictures. And their talk was a valuable lesson in online safety for our contributor as well.  Now there’s an aunt who should be celebrated on SavvyAuntie’s Day!

Melanie Notkin is the Founder of, the first and only community for Aunts: Aunties by Relation (ABR), Aunties by Choice (ABC), Mommy Aunties, Great Aunts, Godmothers, and all women who love kids. enables and empowers Aunts to exchange ideas, get advice, find gifts and connect with other Savvy Aunties.  The first to offer Forums, Groups, Blogs, an Auntiepedia and other social tools designed uniquely for Aunties, gives Aunts a unique and modern approach to learn, connect, share and celebrate Aunt-hood.