Are you posting pictures of your kids’ milestones, your family trips and sharing those cute kid quotes and anecdotes on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or other social media platforms? If you are, you are creating digital media profiles for your kids. And guess what? You may be guilty of ‘sharenting’…
Sharenting (or oversharenting) is a term used to describe the overuse of social media by parents to share content based on their children.1
Parents are also using social media outlets to receive support and advice for common child rearing dilemmas. Some of the more common issues that are raised are:
- Getting kids to sleep
- Eating tips
- Behavior problems
How about some facts?
- Many kids already have a “digital identity” before they even start using social media – thanks to their parents’ postings.
- Over 50 percent of mothers and some 33 percent of fathers discussed the health of their child and parenting on social media.
- About 50 percent of parents were also concerned that when their children grow up they will be embarrassed to see what has been shared about them.
- 75 percent of the survey participants pointed to “oversharenting” by other parents, which included sharing location of the child, embarrassing stories related to a child and posting inappropriate stories.2
- 70 percent of parents said they used social media to get advice from other parents. 62 % said it helped them worry less.3
Social media outlets are indeed a great place to receive support and advice from other parents who are undergoing or have undergone similar trials. Enough has been said about the “wisdom of the crowds”.
But most parents don’t realize that sharenting can endanger their kids’ privacy and can be excessive and harmful. Here are some examples:
- Sharing of unauthorized photos: someone, who you may or may not even know, shares photos of your kids without receiving permission. This may even include “digital kidnapping” where other people steal pictures of your kids and share them as their own children.
- Embarrassing pictures/videos: sharing pictures or videos of your kids that could embarrass them when they are older
- Personal information: posting personal information about your kids on the web, that will never go away – may be used for cyberbullying or cruel jokes
So what’s a parent to do?
How can we reconcile between the need to protect our children and our need to seek advice and/or show off our darling offspring?
Remember that you are responsible for your child’s privacy, medical information and digital profile. Make sure you understand the importance of what you are sharing about your children so that it doesn’t come back later to haunt them.
In case you are wondering, here are a few suggestions about things you should avoid posting, to avoid potential harassment and bullying from your kids in the future: