Yes, the intention is to express the purest of emotions or to show your little one to friends and relatives.
But, do you know who all can see pictures of kids online? Also, do you realize that before your child has even opened the first email, you’re unknowingly creating a digital profile and digital trail that s/he may not like as an adult? Are you aware of the side-effects of social media?
Understanding Sharenting Provides With Answers to Such Questions
To help parents ponder on such questions, the term ‘Sharenting’ was coined by a legal expert.
It literally means ‘online sharing about parenting’ and helps us understand the effects of social media exposure on children.
When you share private details of the daily lives of children such as the school s/he is enrolled in or share children’s pictures online, you are hardly aware of the fact that the information isn’t available to your close friends or relatives alone.
Even with Facebook photo privacy turned on, your acquaintances, friends of friends and even complete strangers with suspicious intentions can gain access to small kids pics, their personality type, and daily routine.
Undesirable Outcomes of Sharenting
Children overexposed to social media may one day be victims of Sharenting. Adults need to seriously ponder on the effects of social media on kids such as:
- Exposure of a child to people with suspicious intentions; such people do exist and therefore, online safety for kids mustn’t be ignored.
- Private information such as the name of the school, vehicle registration number, a timing of the school bus, home address, etc. can land in the wrong hands.
- Childhood pictures that fetch hundreds of likes, thumbs-ups, Retweets or shares today, may in future prove embarrassing for a kid when s/he grows up.
- Online disclosure by parents can harm their kids in the future.
- Indelible digital footprints created today can be used for profiling a child when s/he grows up; internet for kids, in such cases, can even prove a nightmare at some point in life.
- While we exercise discretion when sharing our own pictures or at the time of divulging personal information on social media, kids have no such control over information dissemination by their parents.
Advice against Sharenting to Minimize Side-Effects of Social Media
Do not share information which can reveal your child’s daily routine.
Do not share nude or semi-nude pictures of kids online. It should be strictly avoided.
Avoid sharing pictures that divulge information such as registration numbers, phone numbers, home address, etc.
Sharing certain-write-ups or artwork created by kids that can potentially reveal mental illnesses or psychological parameters.
Avoid sharing information concerning a child’s medical conditions, if any.
Avoid using Sharenting as a mechanism to ‘discipline’ young children.
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Social media is a great tool if used correctly. But it’d be best not to mix social media with parenting. Negative effects of social media, as described above, shouldn’t seed paranoia in the minds of parents but we hope they’d be more responsible the next time they share a picture online.