Modern society has well and truly embraced social media. It’s rare to find anyone these days without a facebook account, and it is not at all unusual for individuals to maintain multiple accounts with social media providers like twitter, snapchat and instagram.
We live in an age of over-sharing.
Photos, videos, status updates, online diaries or vlogs; every single aspect of your life, the highs and the lows can be shared with the world online. Certainly the saying that “it didn’t happen unless you posted it,” is increasingly becoming true. Only last week an image appeared on facebook with the picture of a news reader, the caption below citing “Mt Lofty Tragedy: Young Lady ‘Smashes Lofty’ and forgets to check-in at the summit.” We all laughed. It reminded us of how ridiculous our lives online have become.
But should everything be shared? Are there times when we should hold back from sharing? The simple answer is absolutely. Everything you post online should be curated with care. Everything. Under normal circumstances.
Circumstances are not always normal and there may be times when you need to exercise even greater care with regards to this. For example, you may be in the midst of a separation and court proceedings for a Family Law matter could be underway. With tensions already at fever pitch it makes sense to avoid doing anything that might throw fuel to the flame, or provide ammunition to be used against you in court. In particular we would specifically advise our clients to avoid:
- Posts which comment on your relationship status, particularly those which denigrate your ex with a comparison to a new relationship.
- Sharing of information in relation to purchases made with a joint credit card. This includes holiday snaps.
- Sharing of images or videos of yourself partying, consuming alcohol or taking drugs. Be extra cautious of anything shared that occurs while you are the parent caring for children of the relationship.
- Posting denigrating comments about your ex-spouse, their family, or friends.
- Discussing publicly in any way private details about Court proceedings.
You see the problem with social media, and what you post on it, is the way it can easily be taken out of context. Images can suggest something where there is nothing, text can also be subversive. The best way to protect yourself is to exercise extreme caution in what you post, when you post and how you post it.
“But my ex is blocked from my account.” I hear you say.
Sure, but unfortunately you can’t stop a mutual friend from sharing a screen shot of what has been posted with your ex outside the site. It happens more than you might think.
While you may think that you have control over what you post online, in truth you don’t. Anything appearing online, no matter how high you set your privacy, is really only as private as those who see it will allow. If they can see it they can share it and it has the potential to sting you when it really matters in Court.
In summary, when going through Family Law proceedings we strongly advise, no matter how inflamed you may feel, that you err on the side of caution when it comes to online sharing. The internet is not the best forum for counselling and certainly no place to air your dirty laundry.