Sharenting – the overshare of children on social media.

For many, having a baby is an occasion to be celebrated. But does it need to be celebrated together with every casual acquaintance and former co-worker that you’ve friended on Facebook over the last decade?

The parenting overshares, or ‘sharenting’, on social media isn’t just about the overkill of those green tinged photos of baby’s first mushy pea experience. It can also carry social consequences for the child, may threaten the family dynamic and could even put the child in danger. According to research, 45.2 % of posts on these kinds of photos on Facebook also mentioned the child’s first name. On Instagram, 63% of parents make a reference to their child’s name in at least one photo in their stream and 27% also mention the child’s date of birth. For anyone with other intentions, a first name and access to the parents’ social media page are all they need to get information like an address.

Parents should be more aware of ‘sharenting’ and more concerned about where the information they share online could end up. It could possibly end up in the hands of individuals or organizations that wish to harm their child. We read about it often in the papers and see it on the news, but all parents think that these are stories that could never happen to them.

‘’We can’t control what people share on social media,’’ says Dr. Jillian Roberts, a psychologist and associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Victoria. ‘’You can post something, but if your friends or family choose to share it, it’s on their network and a photo can go viral very quickly. You’ve put sensitive information about your child out there and you’re possibly opening yourself up to unwanted attention for your child.

Besides concerns about strangers, you may also want to consider what kind of embarrassment this photo may cause your teenage child in about 13 years time. Remember the Golden Rule: would you mind having the same photo of yourself available online without your permission?

There are undeniable positive aspects of social media but there needs to be a balanced, mindful approach, carefully considered by parents. ‘Sharenting’, think about it.

Tracy Rozemeijer-Sexton
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