“Technology may be our friend,” says Brooklyn, NY -based author and attorney Frederick Lane, “but it presents an ever-changing number of risks and perils, particularly to men and women who are trying to conceive, or who are expecting a child.”
Lane, in addition to being an expert in cyber law, is the author of eight other books dealing with the risks of online technologies (including the Internet, social media, email and smart phones). His latest book, Cybertraps for Expecting Moms & Dads: Pregnancy, Privacy, and Early Parenthood in the Digital Age, describes what parents can do to reduce and control the influence of technology on their lives.
“The choices you make determines the risks you are exposed to,” Lane says. “By choosing carefully, you can be safer and avoid the emotional pain and financial damage that can otherwise occur.”
Lane brings to this project his experience raising four boys, a decade on the Burlington, Vermont School Board, and more than two decades researching and writing about emerging digital technologies.
He says, “Technology can provide tremendous benefits to expecting moms and dads. And of course, the children born in the years to come will grow up in a society complete infused with digital and mobile technology. But expecting moms and dads have an obligation to understand the risks that technology can pose and to take steps to protect the physical, emotion, and social well-being of their children.”
Lane’s new book explores the many risks that can be encountered, and how to deal with them, from conception through pregnancy to the earliest days of a child’s life.
Here is a sample of some of the many ideas and ways to parents can minimize the impact of technology on pregnancy:
1. Keep mobile devices as far as possible from your reproductive organs (when trying to conceive), your fetus (while pregnant), and your newborn (after birth).
2. Think about whether you really need to post a photo of your pregnancy test on social media, and understand the potential privacy risks when you do.
3. Have a plan for telling family, friends, and your employer about your good news. Be sensitive on social media to people who may be less fortunate.
4. Don’t be a distracted driver or walker. If you are pregnant or a new parent, put your phone away until you have reached your destination.
5. If you use social media or the Internet, be prepared for an onslaught of advertisements related to your pregnancy, particularly in your second trimester. Your data is highly valuable to advertisers and retailers.
6. Think carefully about the photos you post to social media while pregnant. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent your photos from being reshared or misappropriated by pregnancy fetishists.
7. Your new child will spend a lifetime establishing his or her identity. Before posting photos or updates on social media, think carefully about whether you are co-opting your child’s ability to do so
8. Carefully read the privacy policies for any pregnancy apps or “smart” infant devices that you purchase or use for free. The data you provide may be a significant part of the company’s revenue stream and you may discover that you have little or no control over how it is used.
9. Delay as long as possible your newborn’s use of digital technology. Instead, emphasize adult and sibling interaction, verbal communication, and development of motor and tactile skills.
10. Take the time to draft a digital technology pregnancy plan.
Cybertraps for Expecting Moms & Dads: Pregnancy, Privacy, and Early Parenthood in the Digital Age is filled with useful information and guidance that will help ensure the safety and protect of children against the perils of technology.
Frederick Lane is an author, attorney, educational consultant, and lecturer based in Brooklyn, NY. He is a nationally-recognized expert in the areas of cybersafety, digital misconduct, personal privacy, and other topics at the intersection of law, technology, and society.