For the parents, grand parents, aunts, and uncles, it’s very tempting to share stuff on social media about the kids in your life; your son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild. With social media platforms like Facebook, blogging platforms, YouTube, or whatever the next big trend will be down the line, sharing videos, photos, and information about your kids is easy. Not only easy, but it allows family and close friends the opportunity to see the goings on of the children in your life, which is fine. This is the definition, or a close one, of what sharenting is.
The troubles begin when you share too much because you need to get the “likes” on your latest pic of your kid having a meltdown, or trying to get a video of your child to go viral on YouTube. It’s no longer about sharing to keep people in the loop. It’s at this point where you lose control over what you publish online about your little ones and who sees those posts. This is where the privacy and safety of your child is at risk. This is oversharenting and we’ll address some of the risks below.
Several posts ago, I talked about Facebook quizzes revealing sensitive information. There is one that makes the social media rounds that ask people to answer questions about the birth of your children. The answers can reveal important information that will aid someone in committing identity theft. You can find the post here.
There’s also the trend of digital kidnapping where someone steals images of your child and claims to be their parent.
Anecdotally, I have seen friends with kids post back to school pictures where the name of the school is prominently displayed, along with the children and their names. This gives predators the location of your children. The same goes for the back to school photos with the kids holding up a little board with what grade they’ll be in and who the teacher is. In general, avoid over sharing the location of your children.
Privacy and Reputation
When you post things about your children, keep in mind that you are posting on their behalf. What you share can affect them later in life. You have created their online presence at an early age. Those embarrassing photos/comments could come back to haunt them. Also, as mentioned above, they could be a victim of identity theft and not be aware of it until years down the road.
healthychildren.org gives some questions to ask yourself when posting information about your children which hopefully will guide you toward making the right decision to share or not:
- Why are you sharing it?
- Would you want someone to share it about you?
- Could your child be embarrassed by it, now or in the future?
- Is there anyone in the universe who shouldn’t see this about your child, now or at any point in the future?
- Is this something you want to be part of your child’s digital footprint?”
Just as important, when your child asks you to delete something, honor their request because it isn’t your information that you’re posting, it’s theirs.
Hope this was helpful.
If you’re a parent and want to get your sharenting under control, please contact us.