How many of you have young children? How many of you with young children or grandchildren have posted pictures or other information about them on your social media page(s).
Of course you’re proud of the new additions to your families. We’re all proud parents and grandparents who like to show photos of our little ones. In the old days, men would pull out their wallets and boastfully show the family photos. Ladies would reach into their purses and pull out a small photo album full of photos of babies, kids and/or grandkids.
Today, instead of carrying a bundle of photos, or in addition to carrying photos, parents and grandparents share the photos on their social media pages. It’s quicker and easier to let family and friends, near and far, have the pleasure of learning and seeing your tiny loved ones.
The oversharing by parents and grandparents is being referred to as ‘sharenting’. According to some experts, sharenting is ruining the futures of many children along with placing them in danger, even no parent or grandparent would intentionally do anything to harm their wee ones.
According to one source:
“If you grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s, be grateful that your parents didn’t have access to the Internet because, thanks to “sharenting,” parents today are ruining their children’s future.”
“For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, sharenting is when parents share too much information about their children online.”
“It’s one thing if you occasionally post a picture or two of your child at his birthday party or a video of her taking her first steps. But once you share picture after picture of moments that might embarrass the kid later on, you’re officially a sharent.”
So, what’s the peril or danger of sharenting?
The obvious peril is exposing young children to predators such as pedophiles, child kidnappers and traffickers. Many of these predators patrol these social media sites, looking for victims. The more information parents and grandparents share the easier it is for predators to find them and prey upon them.
One of the perils is one that most sharents don’t even consider. That peril is faced as the child grows up, as one source warned:
“But how will this parental sharing affect children as they grow up? That photo of your son playing the angel Gabriel might be cute when he’s four but will he be bullied about it a few years later? Do you want his mum’s account of him wetting the bed still out there when he becomes prime minister? ‘The problem with digital footprints,’ says Tony Anscombe of the internet security firm AVG, ‘is that it’s difficult for an individual to control that information once it’s out there. When it comes to our children, we’re making the decision to put things out on their behalf, and what seems appropriate now may not be appropriate in ten years’ time’.”
“One can’t help wondering how the son of the American blogger Nerdy Apple will feel when he’s older and still haunted by his mother standing up for his decision to go to a party as Daphne from Scooby-Doo with a post titled ‘My son is gay’. Or how much time the son of Canadian blogger Buzz Bishop will spend on the psychiatrist’s couch in the wake of his dad telling the world that his older brother is his favourite child. The psychologist Aric Sigman agrees that we should be concerned: ‘Part of the way a child forms their identity involves having private information about themselves that remains private. That is being eroded by social media. I think the idea of not differentiating between public and private is a very dangerous one’.”
Are you a sharent and guilty of sharenting? Are you exposing your little ones to dangerous predators? Or have you posted photos, stories or other information that could prove to be embarrassing as your child grows up? Will your parental pride cause your child to be bullied, harassed, embarrassed or ridiculed sometime in the future?
You may want to revisit your social media pages and review what you’ve done. Think of their safety and future and if necessary, remove photos and/or stories of things that could prove embarrassing in the future.