Family And Parenting

Sharenting: What Not To Share On Social Media

8 min | Updated on 30-03-2023 by HappyPreggie
If there’s anything that parents love to do, it’s talking and showing pictures of their children. Every little gesture is wonderful and special, and we want to capture those moments and share it with everyone. It’s normal and common, especially in the time we are living in. Taking pictures of your child and sharing it with the people around you can also be a way to keep records of their accomplishment and achievement. Whenever your child is feeling especially low, you can sit down together, show the pictures and tell the stories of each accomplishment - reminding him that you are proud of what he has done. Sharenting, if done right, can show love, pride and also build community.

Sharenting: What Not To Show On Social Media
(Image credits to Dr. Pamela Rutledge)

There are various reasons parents like sharing photos, such as to keep records of memories and creating albums online. Sharing also helps parents feel less lonely when going through difficult patches in the parenting journey. However, sharing photos and videos of your child on social media comes with risks, and as a responsible parent, we must know how to share safely. After all, we do not want our mishap to hurt our children in the long future.

What Is Sharenting?

The act of parents sharing about their children has become so common that a particular term has been created: sharenting. The term is derived from two words that are share and parenting.

Sharenting, or oversharenting, is when parents continually post images, videos, and information about their children on the Internet. In other words, it is the practice of documenting a child's life on social media - from little memories to significant events.

Most people think it's no big deal because almost everyone shares on social media. And that's probably the truth most of the time, but there are instances where sharenting too much or too personal details can put you - or your child, in a tight spot. According to The New Yorker, a study found that by 2030, sharenting will cause nearly two-thirds of identity-fraud cases affecting today's children.

Why Parents Do Sharenting

Why Parents Do Sharenting
(Image credits to SBS)

Sharenting can be for different reasons, depending on each parent's intention, such as:

  • Curating the perfect image
One of the main reasons for sharenting is a parent's desire to create a particular image for their family publicly. The children become a trophy for their parents to showcase their family as perfect in the eyes of others.

  • Sharing struggles
Not all parents want to show they have the perfect family life; some parents sharent for opposite reasons - to show the not-so-glamorous side of parenting. For example, a parent may share the chores they have to do before going on a vacation.

  • Keeping in touch
Not everyone lives with or within driving distance from their family and friends. For these people, sharing pictures and videos on social media is the easiest way to update everyone on the child's growth and development. Sharenting allows parents to maintain an ongoing relationship with the people they know and care about.

Why Oversharenting Can Be Dangerous

Many factors can put parents or the child in danger when parents start oversharing information. The risks of oversharenting include:

#1 You Could Attract Unwanted Attention

men cyberstalking children
(Image credits to iStock)

Social media algorithms often boost children's pictures, so posting cute pictures of your child can be tempting if you aim for social media fame. However, it can also attract unwanted attention. Posting too many pictures of your child as they grow may make them a target for child predators. If you're not careful with what you post, such as sharing personal information, you may unintentionally increase the risks and dangers to your child.

#2 It Gives Bullies Ammo

child being bullied
(Image credits to The Rakyat Post)

The number of bullying cases varies worldwide, but one thing is clear: it's a problem everywhere. The Internet has enabled bullying beyond the school site; now, it can go on 24/7 due to social media. In many cases, victims of cyberbullying tend to self-harm as a way of escapism.

If you had put your child's life moments on the Internet, you have most likely given the bullies more reasons to pick on your child. All a bully has to do is go through your social media accounts and find all the pictures and videos you uploaded. Even if you deleted them, the damage is already done. Your child may even blame you for posting the photos and videos.

#3 You're Selling Their Data

leaking confidential data
(Image credits to IntoTheMinds)

Many companies collect data about their consumers by providing services, then sell it to advertisers. These advertisers use the information to target you with specific ads, attracting you to buy something. Most adults have only dealt with their data being sold since they were teenagers. However, the younger generations - your child's generations - are having their data collected as soon as you put their information online.

Your child's information is bought and sold since they are babies. When you upload pictures and videos on the Internet, you're selling their data to companies, which will then sell it to advertisers. These advertisers are accessing your child's data before they are even old enough to be aware of it.

#4 It Can Create Social Pressure

child social pressure peer pressure
(Image credits to TheAsianParent)

A child's sensitivity to self-image may increase when they enter their early teens. In this case, your child may get embarrassed with the pictures you took and uploaded when they were a child. They may also have lower self-esteem, affecting their peers' social interaction.

Furthermore, letting your child grow up with lots of social media attention may pressure your child to keep getting the attention. Your child may do outrageous things to ensure their social media attention, leading them down a dark path. Attention-seeking behaviour is an unhealthy habit that has destroyed many older children and young adults.

How To Sharent Safely On Social Media

  • Limit Your Followers and Friends 
Before posting about your child on your account, go through your followers or friends list and ensure they are all someone you trust. You should also remind them to ask permission before sharing or saving your pictures.

  • Turn off Metadata 
A photo's metadata usually includes the time, date, and sometimes even the photo's location. This means that someone can trace your location through an image that contains metadata.

Ensure the photos you take on your phone don't contain metadata by turning off geotagging in your camera settings. It's advisable to check this feature regularly because software updates may default to sharing metadata.

  • Double Check Before You Post 
A photo you took of your child on their first day of school may contain various information such as name, school address, and age. It's very easy to miss confidential information when sharing photos of your child on social media, so double-check before you click on the 'Share' or 'Post' button.

  • Think Before You Post 
You may think the pictures you took of your toddler are cute, but they can be a reason for bullying and fodder for predators. Avoid posting naked or semi-naked pictures or personal information like ages, favourite sports teams, or pets, as this may be used as security questions for passwords.

  • Ask Them First 
If your child is 5 or older, consider asking for their permission and whether they're okay with the picture before posting. Not only will you and your child make sharing photos an enjoyable activity, but they will also have some control over their digital footprint.

  • Don't Depend On Likes 
Being too dependent on social media approval won't be healthy for anyone, especially for teens developing their sense of self and self-esteem. Avoid encouraging behaviour that counts on likes as approval, and make sharing photos a good memory for your child.

Remember that your child also deserves privacy. They may not care what you share now, but as they grow older, they may resent you for sharing too much on social media - where everybody can see and tease them. They may be unable to express their upsetness, but they are unlikely to thank you if their friends start finding the contents in the future.

Your child may see you as gadget-obsessed if you constantly share on social media. Because they are young, they may follow your actions and get addicted to devices. If this matter is not taken care of, it may affect your child's development. Read through our article on How To Stop Your Child's Gadget Addiction.
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