Sharenting, or social media parenting, has become common among parents, but it can severely affect a child’s mental and personal growth.
A few months ago, a disappointed man on Reddit said he was leaving his wife because of social media. It may seem trivial, but his social-media-addicted wife was more concerned about having a picture-perfect facade for her followers than anything else. So everything in her house had to be beige and cream, including her young daughter’s room.
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Worse still, the guy couldn’t have time with his daughter because they would ruin “mummy’s picturesque moment.” Even when the grandmother buys her granddaughter a lovely doll from a show she loves, the mother doesn’t want it because it won’t fit her beige and cream “aesthetics.”
The mom has a social media Page for Moms, and her daughter is a prominent feature on her Instagram page. But the dad is afraid that she is taking away her daughter’s childhood.
Unfortunately, we keep hearing such stories every day. So the question is, how can living a life for social media affect your child?
Of course, not all parents are glam-addicted social media influencers. Unlike the mentioned mom, you may not rob your kid of their childhood to get social media traction. Most parents have good intentions. They want to share their children’s milestones with friends and families. But often, you post your happy family moments without considering the dangers of overexposing your children on social media.
Dangers of oversharing your child’s life on social media
The picture is no longer yours
Once you post anything online, it isn’t exclusively yours. The terms and conditions you signed before joining a social media platform give the platform the right to use your images and data. And they don’t need your consent to share your information.
You may own the copyright of every image you post, but the servers that host your pictures own the license. They may distribute your photos as they see fit.
In 2018 a survey by the Children’s Commissioner for England showed that by 18, the average young person had about 70,000 social media posts. If you think about it briefly, you realize that anyone can access your child’s birthplace, full name, schools, photos at every milestone, and more private information.
This can make your child a perfect victim of identity theft. Worse still is the availability of more data and private information on the Dark web, which increases their vulnerability.
Consent from your child is a debatable issue. Some feel they don’t need it, while others think it is essential. The problem seems hilarious today and can be a source of embarrassment in your child’s future. Your child may also not want things like their medical conditions posted online for everyone.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to protect your child. Sometimes, they may love being in “mummy’s videos,” but it’s up to the parent to ensure you share your “moments” appropriately. Online trials follow a person throughout their life. That information you share today will be available to schoolmates, potential spouses, coworkers, and future employers.
Cyberbullying and online predation
Closely related to online stigma are cyberbullying and predation. Your overshared online photo today can make your child a victim of bullying tomorrow. Everyone shares their opinion on social media, and some comments are unhealthy for you or your child.
Worse still is the presence of sexual predators and pedophiles online. That innocent video you shared of your child running nude in your backyard or doing some children’s things may not be apparent to some. It’s unpleasant to think about, and not everyone is a sexual predator. Still, in a world where 5 billion users can access the Internet, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Besides predators, others may also use your photos for target advertisement without your consent or compensating you.
Lack of identity
Children need privacy and respect. If your entire family’s life revolves around social media, your child may not get the opportunity to grow normally. Like in our earlier story, you may deny your child access to basic things because it doesn’t fit your narrative or “aesthetics.”
Another problem is your child grows up thinking it’s normal to share everything online. Also, not every kid is outgoing, and you may have a reserved child being forced to participate in family vlogs that violate their privacy. Sadly, this can affect them mentally as they grow — we’ve seen this in several child actors before social media.
Bottom line, let your children write their own stories.
Financial matters in family vlogs
Social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube provide income for many people. Most parents have found a way to earn while enjoying time with their children — a positive aspect of social media.
But recently, most people have been wondering whether children are being exploited. Besides the outright scripting of family “moments,” there is the question of earnings. Do children have a right to get a share of the profits? How do you make sure your child gets their rightful share once they come of age? And what is the proper claim for them?
There is no outright law about this, but it may present future disagreements when they realize their parents made money off their photos.
The impact of sharenting: share responsibly
Sharing your child’s achievements and milestones online isn’t bad. Most of the time, parents don’t do it out of malice, but out of a desire to show their kid’s cuteness or accomplishments. And according to studies, about 60 percent of parents find social support and useful parenting-related information online.
But while sharing is good, there are significant risks of oversharing your child’s photos or videos online. “Sharenting,” or social media parenting, can expose your child to bullies, targeted ads, unwarranted attention, cybercrime, and predators.
That said, it’s up to a parent to mitigate the risk of social media on kids and adolescents. Protect your child by sharing their photos and private info responsibly.