sharenting (ˈʃeərəntɪŋ) noun
the habitual use of social media to share news, images, etc. of one’s children
This is an early contentious piece but it’s likely to have affected each of us in someway.
How much is too much exposure of our kids online? Especially at our own hand.
My wife and I ended up at the same decision not to share images of our son, but we took different roads to get there. She is uber protective of his privacy and doesn’t feel that his presence online should be saturated for someone who has only seen 1 year on this earth, where as I don’t post because I just don’t feel that anyone really gives a shit.
No one cares about your kid as much as you do and that needs to be at the forefront of thinking before loading up 12 photos of the very same moment your child eats a yoghurt.
I decided to investigate my wife’s perspective to see if it has merit in reality or wrapped in paranoia. In a rare moment of partial-professionalism I had a chat with a police officer from the Sexual Offences and Child Investigation Team (SOCIT) who focus on online issues. I wanted to see if there’s a right way to be a proud parent in a social media driven world.
..it’s entirely up to you and how you feel about your kid’s image being regularly sent into the irretrievable chasm of the Internet.
The officer I spoke with worked in the area concerning pre-teen and teenagers interaction online. He did stress that the social media actions of parents still has a direct affect on much younger kids. A parent that doesn’t value the privacy of themselves or their baby leads to an adolescent that feels the same and that’s where his job, unfortunately, comes into play. If it can be nipped in the bud early in a kid’s life, his job wouldn’t be so necessary.
I raised the (seemingly ever-present) urban legend that you shouldn’t post an image of your child in their school uniform. Could this lead to someone identifying which school your child goes to? Well, yes. It can. But it doesn’t really matter.
Any issues with someone watching and waiting for your child based on social media information, is almost non-existent. The shadowy, ill-defined moment that everyone seems to be scared of is usually going to be opportunistic or committed by separated parents.
So it seems that teary, emotional parents can let everyone know that “Their little one has grown up” #WhereHaveTheYearsGone #ProudMum/Dad #FirstDayOfSchool #Etcetera
But before you feel that you can go unbridled into the social world with your favourite filters, consider the privacy settings on your profile and take a moment and set it to Friends Only and while you’re there think about the ‘friends’ you have on there. How well do you know the barely-friend you had in high school that you only reconnected with to see if they were single/hot/ugly/rich and stalk when you’re slightly drunk?
Do you really want some random stumbling across the shots of your kids enjoying splashing each other in the bath? More to the point DON’T POST PICTURES OF YOUR KIDS IN THE BATH! Take them and keep them for you because it’s super cute. Do. Not. Post. Them. It’s weird and no one cares.
In the end, as with everything, it’s entirely up to you and how you feel about your kid’s image being regularly sent into the irretrievable chasm of the Internet. It’s just applying some common sense about what you’re putting up for everyone to see, just try not to use your kids as vehicles for your own social media narcissism and just stick with the #KillinItAtTheGym updates.