DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been involved in musical theater from a very early age. He is 10 now and wants to create social media accounts. I believe his accounts should be made private because he is so young and you never know who is lurking on the internet. He thinks he should have public social media accounts so he can be discovered. My son's dreams of being on Broadway are important to me; however, his safety should always come first. Am I making too big a deal about this? My husband says they should be public accounts so they'd be like a virtual resume. -- Public or Private, Detroit
DEAR PUBLIC OR PRIVATE: Striking a balance between privacy and safety and opportunity can be tough. Your job, of course, is to figure it out for your child. What some families of child actors do is to create a stage name for their children that is different from the child's given name. Yes, the child's likeness will be out there, but being able to physically find the child becomes a bit more difficult if his identity is different.
You should check with SAG-AFTRA to see when you should register your child's proper name for professional reasons. But in terms of creating some form of protection between him and the outside world, a stage name may work. You should also make it clear that you will regularly access and review any and all content on your son's social media accounts, even as he gets older. Don't simply tell him you will do this. You must go in periodically and look at his interactions so that you truly do know who is contacting him.