Social media fast turning parenting into 'sharenting'

Social media fast turning parenting into sharenting

Social Media Fast Turning Parenting Into \'Sharenting\'. Today\'s parents\' love to share things concerning their kids on social media, but a new study suggests they need to draw a line to keep the \"sharenting\" in control.

Today's parents' love to share things concerning their kids on social media, but a new study suggests they need to draw a line to keep the "sharenting" in control.

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health found that this so-called "sharenting" wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, with more than half of mothers and one-third of fathers discussing child health and parenting on social media and nearly three quarters of parents saying social media makes them feel less alone.

Associate director Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., said that by the time children get old enough to use social media themselves, many already have a digital identity created for them by their parents.

Clark added that these networks had brought parents together in ways that weren't possible before, allowing them to commiserate, trade tips and advice, share pride for milestones and reassure one another that they're not alone.

However, there was potential for the line between sharing and over-sharing to get blurred. Parents may share information that their child finds embarrassing or too personal when they're older but once it was out there, it gets hard to undo.

Three-quarters of parents polled also pointed to "oversharenting" by another parent, including parents who shared embarrassing stories, gave information that could identify a child's location, or posted photos perceived as inappropriate.

Stories of sharenting gone wrong have been rampant in the news, with one of the most extreme examples including a phenomenon called "digital kidnapping" reported on earlier this year. Parents were shocked to learn that strangers were "stealing" their kids' online photos and re-sharing them as if the children were their own. Also, children's photos have become the target of cruel jokes and cyberbullying. Among the most notorious cases in recent years was that of a Facebook group that made fun of "ugly" babies.

Clark said that parents are responsible for their child's privacy and need to be thoughtful about how much they share on social media so they can enjoy the benefits of camaraderie but also protect their children's privacy.

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