It’s impossible to avoid the plethora of “proud parent” photos on Facebook over the festive period:  baby’s first Christmas, toddler and family dog in matching reindeer costumes, the six-year olds surrounded by more toys than you can buy in Hamleys …… you get the picture!

Whilst it’s good to share, could you be putting your child in jeopardy by plastering them all over social media with your love of “sharenting”?

From Wikipedia:  Sharenting (or oversharenting) is the overuse of social media by parents to share content based on their children, such as baby pictures or details of their children’s activities.[1] It is related to the concept of “too much information“.[2] There is an ongoing debate as to how parents can balance their right to share with their child’s interest in privacy.[3] Pediatricians are starting to consider how sharenting affects childhood well-being and family life. 

So, what’s the problem? They’re your kids, right? Hold that thought dear reader and maybe come back to it when you’ve reached the bottom of this missive.

  • Posting on social media can invade your child’s privacy – those funny anecdotes and cute chocolate-covered smiles could become an issue. When a child gets to around the age of 5, they will start to develop a sense of who they are and how they’re perceived.  They start to recognise privacy, which is when you could hit a potential brick wall with your offspring.
  • Your posts could lead to bullying – who knows who might get their hands on your photos, or how they may be used against your child in the future.
  • Once you’ve deleted it, it’s gone, right? – “the reality is that the data shared by parents could be revealed by Google search algorithms for years to come. And we don’t know what our children’s goals might be when they get older”. – Stacey Steinberg, an associate director for the Center on Children and Families at University of Florida Levin College of Law.
  • Ever heard of digital kidnapping or digital roleplay? – Yes, such things exist – in another world it would be called identity theft.  Go and search #BabyRP, #AdoptionRP, and #KidRP on social media.  Brace yourself.  It’s not pretty.

If you really, truly want to post pics of your kids all over the web, check that your privacy settings on your social media accounts are set appropriately.  As your children get older, maybe check with them that they’re OK about you posting their every move on your Facebook feed and respect their wishes if they’re not on board with your enthusiasm.

I’ll end on a lighter note.  As a big believer in karma and what goes around comes around, imagine how you’ll feel in your twilight years when your grown-up children get their own back, posting images of you propped up drooling in a nursing home, being spoon-fed by carers or the hilarious moment that your incontinence made an appearance on a day at the seaside!

You get my drift?

If you’re unsure on how to change your privacy settings I’m always happy to advise!