"Sharenting," heard of it? It's a new term that describes the prevalent, and sometimes grotesque phenomenon of parents oversharing photos of their kids on social media. While parents agree protecting their children's identity from lurkers, stalkers, and predators is of the utmost importance, sometimes parents cross the line and disclose a bit too much of their kid's private life.
Sure, it's normal to be a proud parent. But parents can easily share too many post photos making their kid's life quite public indeed. Sometimes it's simply a matter for cause of embarrassment on the part of the kid. Other times, it's opening up the child to a potentially vulnerable situation by a predator who may try to harm your child or repurpose your child's photos for nefarious aims.
In one survey, over 75% of parents have said they knew a parent within their circle that "oversharented" - or were the perpetrator of oversharing on their social media account photos or stories about their child that should have been kept private.
We've compiled a list of common questions and answers regarding this issue. Read on to learn what other parents think of sharenting, and their 5 tips of how to curb this behavior.
5 Questions to Answer and Pro Tips to Stop Oversharing
Q1: How do I decide whether to share images of my kid?
A1: If you're okay with having a family photo online for the world to see, then go for it. However, some parents believe they don't have the right to share photos of their kid until they are old enough to say what they are comfortable sharing, and what they aren't comfortable sharing. Just remember, once you post an image - it's likely to stay on the Net for as long as the Net exists.
Q2: I want to share photos of my kid or teen with my family, but not just everybody. How can I negotiate this?
A2: Choose carefully who you add on your social network. If you plan to share many photos of your kid or teen for family from long-distances, then you may want to exclude acquaintances from your feed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social network.
Q3: How often is too often when it comes to sharing photos of my child?
A3: Many parents say one reason why they enjoy sharing their kid's photos is because it's a neutral and fun subject friends and co-workers have in common, in contrast to subjects like politics and religion. However, one must consider where to draw the line on frequency. Consider your own threshold for other people's photos. When does it get to be a bit annoying? Chances are you already know the answer when it's too much.
Q4: Everyone is doing, it; sharing personal photos is part of our culture - so what can possibly be wrong with it?
A4: True, while sharing a child's photos has become a social norm, it doesn't make it safe. Birthday party posts, birth announcements, and facial recognition acquired from photos are all potentially serious threats to the privacy of your child's safety and identity. Before posting names, dates, routines, etc. consider who may be viewing this content - and if it reveals enough for potential predators to target your kid.
Q5: When my teen is more mature and understands he has an oversharing parent, will he be upset with me?
A5: That depends. This is a very important question and one of the primary reasons many parents refuse to share their teen's photos online. After all, when your child is a teen and it's time to teach them how to responsibly use the Internet, will you look like a hypocrite, as an over sharer with 12 years-worth of photos and personal stories all over the Net? By limiting the images you post, you may empower your child to decide for themselves what personal information they want to share online, and what they wish to exclude.