[Note: This is the tenth chapter of my 2017 book, Cybertraps for Expecting Moms & Dads. It is available to paid subscribers of The Cybertraps Newsletter. The Introduction and Chapter One are available to all readers.]

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One of the trends on which I have focused throughout the course of my writing career is how social media facilitates the formation of specialized communities devoted to sharing information and providing support to its members — BDSM enthusiasts in Bible Belt cities, employees trying to understand (and sometimes evade) drug tests, homeschoolers, free speech advocates, privacy specialists, and victims of teacher abuse. Not surprisingly, some of the most enthusiastic and active online communities are those composed of expecting moms and dads.

There is good reason for this. Human reproduction remains a challenging, complicated endeavor. In earlier times, a pregnant woman would be more likely to be surrounded by a physical community of older women, family members, and neighbors who could offer advice and support. While some of that is still true today, the Internet and social media help fill the gaps that often occur in our physical communities.

As I said in the Introduction, I am a fan of technology and a proselytizer for the benefits it can offer. However, I also have grave concerns about the overall weakness of data protection and the threats posed to personal privacy by that vulnerability. Inevitably, the intersection of information — particularly information as valuable as data about pregnant moms — and technology raises significant issues, particularly with respect to privacy and safety. Each couple should take the time to discuss their comfort level with sharing information online and understand the risks of doing so.

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