Sharenting refers to the practice of parents sharing information about their children on social media. While it is a great way for parents to document their child’s life, there are raised concerns and potential risks, such as the loss of privacy and security which can have a long-term impact on the mental health of both parents and children.
What Is Sharenting?
The term sharenting is a combination of two words, “sharing” and “parenting”. It’s a relatively new term that has been coined to describe a trend that has become more and more common in recent years.
It is used to describe the practice of parents sharing information about their children on social media. An example of sharenting could be social media sharing of:
- Babies’ cute pictures and milestones.
- Kids’ birthday photos and videos.
- Moments of the child with family and friends.
- Information about hobbies and personality of the child.
- Child’s personal stories
Having said that, sharenting can have both positive and negative effects on children. You should consider how much information to share about your child and family. Even though social media can be a great way of sharing information it can also lead to cyberbullying, identity theft, and online harassment.
In some countries, sharing a child’s photo online without consent can be illegal. So, it’s important for you to take precautions, such as privacy settings, avoid sharing identifiable information and respect your child’s privacy.
There are other ways to share your family moments without compromising your child’s privacy, such as creating a private family blog or sharing photos through secure messaging apps.
Parenthood In Digital Age
Parenting in the digital age is a rapidly evolving topic. With smartphones, social media, and other digital tools becoming increasingly prevalent, parents are faced with unique challenges and opportunities.
Here are some points to look for in the difficulties and challenges faced by parents today
- There is a lot of information and advice available for parents on how to raise tier children in this digital age.
- Technology is advancing and changing every day, making it difficult for parents to keep up.
- It becomes difficult to manage the screen time that their child spends on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Even though parenthood in the digital age poses its own challenges, social media has provided parents with a powerful tool to connect with others on social media.
Read More About Parenting Here
Why Mothers Post About Their Children On Social Media?
Sharenting on Facebook has become a common practice among parents who want to share their children’s milestones and daily life with their online community.
According to research 1, mothers share more pictures of their children than fathers on social sites.
Here are some most common reasons for sharenting by mothers
- Mothers may feel proud of their children’s achievements and want to share their pride with others on social media.
- They post about their children’s activities so that other parents give advice that can help to improve their parenthood.
- Sharing information about their children can help mothers feel connected with their family friends and other parents in their social network.
- Posting about their children on social media can be a way for mothers to document and preserve memories of their children as they grow and change.
How Does Sharenting Affect Mental Health?
Sharing photos can have adverse effects on the mental health of both parents and their children.
While much of the concern around sharenting has focused on children, there is a significant psychological impact of sharenting in millennial parents as well.
Impact Of Sharenting On Parent’s Mental Health
According to a study 2, parent’s habitual social media usages have negative effects
- They tend to experience feelings of inferiority, animosity and comparing children with other kids.
- Parents may feel pressured to present a perfect image of their family and children online, which can contribute to feelings of stress.
- They might feel guilty about the safety and privacy of the children by sharing information online.
Sharenting And Mental Health Of Children
Research suggests that excessive or inappropriate sharenting affects children’s mental health that can lead to a basic feeling of inadequacy 3 among children.
Here are a few effects of sharenting on kid’s mental health
- Constantly seeking validation and approval from others can lead to low self-esteem.
- They may feel that their privacy is invaded or that their parents care more about likes and followers on social media.
- Spending too much time on social media can be detrimental to mental health, as it can lead to isolation from the real world.
- Children’s self-respect can be affected by noticing negative comments 4 online. They can also feel that their value is only based on likes and comments they receive on social media, rather than their inherent worth as a person.
- Sharing information on social media can create pressure on the child to perform or behave in a certain way. Therefore it can cause children to attract more attention in other developmental stages of life.
It’s important for parents to set boundaries and ask for children’s consent before sharing their information online.
How Does Sharenting Affect Children’s Privacy?
Sharenting can have a significant impact on children’s privacy both long term and short term.
The usage of children’s full names, and identities and adding locations on social media posts can harm kids in several ways.
- Personal information can be made public.
- Lack of control over online presence.
- Following and harassing 5 with unwanted attention can cause fear among children.
- Sharing photos without permission.
- Social and emotional implications.
- Abducting children by getting access to their real names and location from parents’ social media posts.
- Humiliating and frightening kids 6 by writing negative comments on social media posts.
It’s important for parents to be mindful and limit the information that is shared online in order to prevent cyberbullying.
Read More About Bullying Here
Benefits Of Sharenting
The practice of sharing information on social media can be a great way 7 to
1. Foster, a good family functioning
Sharing photos can allow people to stay connected with friends and family 8, especially those who live far away and share special moments and milestones with them.
2. Saving memories
By sharing their child’s photos and videos online, parents can keep a digital record of their child’s growth and development that can be revisited in the future.
3. Community building
This can help build a community of families and parents going through similar phases. Especially new parents, to feel less alone by getting support from others.
4. Education and Information
Creating digital identity by parents can help children to improve their self-concept.
5. Online career
Some parents use social media for creating kid-focused content. That eventually helps them to earn money through social sites like YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Risks Of Sharenting
While sharing photos on social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, it also poses potential sharenting risks.
Let’s identify the perils of sharenting
- Online permanence of children’s details
- Emotional harm (sharing too sensitive information by parents may affect the emotional well-being of kids)
- Misuse of personal data by strangers
- Sharenting narcissism (It exalts parents’ love for themselves more than love for their kids)
Tips For Healthy Sharenting
Some tips for parents that can help protect their child’s privacy and safety while still enjoying the benefits of sharing information and photos online.
Risks can be prevented by following some of the sharenting best practices
1. Types of contents
Try to avoid posting very intimate information about kids, for example, sharing embarrassing images, actual details, or personal details.
2. Privacy settings and Policy
Always recheck your privacy settings and policy on social accounts before posting about kids.
3. Limiting viewers
Try to post information about your kids in a close group or private group of friends on social accounts.
4. Children’s consent
If your child is grown enough, take permission before sharing information about him/her.
While sharenting can be a great way to build community and connect with others online. Parents should be mindful of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment. You should take the necessary steps for your child’s privacy and security in order to have a healthy relationship with them.
At A Glance
- Sharenting is a practice of parents using social accounts to share their children’s activities.
- Mothers share more information about their children through social media.
- Sharenting helps parents to save memories on social sites and enjoy them later.
- Sharenting affects children’s mental health including trust issues, attention-seeking behavior etc.
- Children can be victims of different kinds of crimes, namely stalking, bullying, and kidnapping.
- It is necessary to follow some sharenting best practices, such as being cautious about technology and limiting viewers on social media.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Who coined the term “sharenting”?
Originally the term “sharenting” was first introduced in the Wall Street Journal by Steven Leckhart in the year 2012 and became a recognizable theme.
2. How sharenting can lead to narcissism in children?
The likeability and social affirmation from others on digital platforms can cause children to develop narcissistic behavior.
3. What is digital narcissism?
Digital narcissism is referred to as the excessive activities shared by individuals on social media, practically every day. That may include posting selfies or moments.
4. What is the problem with sharenting?
There are several factors which are considered as dangers of sharenting. Among them, identity theft can be the major issue that is mostly faced by children.
- Duggan, M., Lenhart, A., Lampe, C., & Ellison, N. B. (2015, July 16). Parents and Social Media. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech; Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Available from: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/07/16/parents-and-social-media/
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