Are You Over-Sharenting?

Written by on May 30, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

Are You Over-Sharenting

Are You Over-Sharenting?

The folks at Websters must hate the Internet. Every day it seems like some new word pops up, some new twist on an old phrase. Today’s word, boys and girls, is ‘Sharenting” and it means “The sharing of information about your children with everyone on Facebook or whatever social network you choose to hang out in”.

I’m a grandmother, which means I’m old enough to remember what the world was like before it flipped into Cyberspace. But I’m also still young enough to remember how embarrassing it is to have my parents flashing around my baby pictures. You know the ones I’m talking about, too, because you took those same pictures of your kids.

Picture this… I’m 16 years old, nervously sitting on the couch next to my first boyfriend, when my mom whips open the photo album and starts showing him my baby pictures. “There she is! Wasn’t she adorable?” And there I was, in all my 6-month old glory… lying naked on a rug in front of the fireplace!

When I was growing up it was common for parents to whip out the photo album whenever guests came over and show off their most recent embarrassing family photographs. The parents all loved it but to us kids it was mortifying and to this day I still feel sick to my stomach when I flip through my mom’s old photo albums.

But here’s the new twist on photo sharing… There are probably only a total of 20 people who’ve ever seen that picture of me 6-month old tushie.

Were I to post that same picture today, on my own Facebook wall, 400 people would see it, tagged with my name. At least a dozen of them would share it on their wall and with just a few clicks my naked tushie would be seen by millions of people all over the world.

To you, as a parent, this might seem amusing. It might even be a goal. After all, remember that video of that kid who was all woozy from visiting the dentist? His parents posted that video, it went viral, and now they’re making money selling T-shirts with their kids picture on the front.

But what effect is it having on your kids? Especially when their friends see those photos?

Sharenting isn’t really a new concept. Parents have been sharing information about their kids since the beginning of time. And I’m not going to be a scare-monger and bring up pedophilia or bullying or identity theft because those possibilities have been beat to death and no one listens anyway.

I’d like to plant a different seed in your mind. I only have 400 friends on Facebook. Most of us are old enough that we don’t really get into all that sharenting stuff. But how many friends do you have? And just how active are they?

Don’t let those privacy settings fool you. It only takes one click to copy any mortifying photograph on the Internet or share an entire embarrassing thread. I can hide my mother’s photo album so nobody ever sees that picture again. But once you publish your child’s picture online, anybody in the world can access it – forever.

This is a guest post. Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys small-town living in rural Kentucky. She’s an active member of several online communities and enjoys taking part in discussions that focus on how real people can live real lives in this fast-paced world we all live in.


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