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Sharenting: Oversharing your child’s pictures online isn’t just risky but unhealthy too

Sharenting: The overuse of social media by parents or what is termed sharenting has left experts wondering if this risks a child's privacy with parents sharing too much information online. And it can also impact your child's personality.

By: Parenting Desk |
August 2, 2019 12:18:39 pm
sharenting, social media, sharing child pictures online A lot of parents tend to share too much information about their kids online. (Source: Getty Images)

Do you love sharing your baby’s cute pictures on social media? Or something your child has done that you are proud of? You are no exception, of course, because there are many such parents who derive happiness from sharing their child’s special moments with their friends online to get their appreciation.

This, however, borders on becoming an obsession in some cases, with parents going to the extent of posting things online, even if their child is uncomfortable with it. This overuse of social media by parents or what is termed “sharenting” has left experts wondering if this risks a child’s privacy with parents sharing too much information online.

Why are parents oversharing their child’s pictures on social media?

Scientists are trying to identify the reasons behind the growing trend of sharenting, and as it turns out, it has a lot to do with how parenthood changes you. A recent research by Alexa K Fox and Mariea Grubbs Hoy from the University of Akron and University of Tennessee respectively has found a link between a woman feeling vulnerable as a mother and their social media posts. The mother’s vulnerability stems from multiple factors like how they view themselves after childbirth, body image, responsibilities of motherhood, postpartum issues and anxiety. Posting their experiences on social media, on the other hand, helps them cope through social support and affirmation.

Also Read| How excessive use of technology and social media impacts kids’ mental health

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As per a 2018 survey by McAfee, 40.5 per cent of parents in India (with most of them reportedly being from Mumbai) post a photo or video of their child at least once a day on social media while 36 per cent post their child’s picture once a week.

How can sharenting impact kids?

On the face of it, this might seem to be a harmless activity but with increasing cyber security challenges, there is a risk of these pictures or videos of your child being appropriated or misused. Through the pictures posted online, parents also end up sharing information regarding location and identity on the internet, which can be risky, with online predators populating social media platforms. In the McAfee survey, for instance, parents identified with the risks of sharing content online, from pedophilia, stalking, kidnapping and cyberbullying, and yet 62 per cent of them did not even bother about taking their child’s consent first. However, there are ways to ensure your child’s online safety.

Again, the child may have difficulty forming an identity different from what his or her parents share on the public domain. When parents create a child’s identity on his or her behalf, it impacts their individuality, as pointed out by author of Beyond Smart, Linda Morgan. Their self-esteem can be affected if they receive negative reactions online.

Before sharing your child’s pictures online the next time, consider the potential risks and how it can impact your child. And so, take your child’s consent before posting any content about them online so that they don’t feel violated in any way. No child would like to grow up to see testaments to their embarrassing moments as a kid on the internet. Your child’s well-being is your foremost priority.

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