Are You Sharenting?

If you are like me, you just read that word and said “what” and if you’re not like me and are in the “know” then good on you because I had no idea that this was a thing. For us, uncool people, the term “sharenting” is a parent who overshares their life on social media – about 900% of the population at this point.

I think it’s almost taboo for people not to have a social media page. As someone in the workplace, I know whenever I get a new hire – the first thing I check for is their social media so I can see what they’ve got going on. If I don’t see one, I can’t help but think “what are they hiding?” not perhaps that they choose not to share their entire life story with complete strangers. But as parents, do we overshare?

I tend to follow a lot of parents on social media and these are people who post pictures of their kids daily, vlog, etc. It seems as though it’s become very normal for people to share a lot about their families. However, what’s considered too much? If you have been following me, you may notice I don’t post my kid’s faces or names on any of my platforms. Earlier when I first started my social media I used to, but I kind of got creeped out by the whole thing and decided to keep their anonymity.

In part, I agree we’ve become a nation of oversharers. We share what we eat, what we wear, where we’re going, what we’re doing, who we’re with, how our children behave in public. Sharing is caring but perhaps we care too much. I chose not to put my children on social media for safety reasons first and foremost – a decision every person makes on their own. I don’t like the idea of some perv eyeballing my kid or someone using their photo as their faux baby on their own social media – yes people do that. Secondly, I didn’t want to open them up to ridicule – the internet is forever and people feel they have a right to comment on the way your kid looks and one day I don’t want my kid looking back and seeing someone saying something negative about them – it’s easy to be cruel behind a screen.

It’s also easy to be forgetful that even though our intentions are good – clearly as parents we’re proud of our tiny humans and the funny things they say and do – not everyone who watches has good intentions. The other side of this argument is not allowing yourself to live in fear of the faceless person who could be there. So where do you draw the line? Who says what’s too much? For me personally, I like talking about my kids and our family but I hold their privacy very close to me, others feel that so long as they take precaution i.e. not posting in real time, no street names of where they live, keeping details to a minimum – the internet is out of their hands. Wouldn’t it be great that at the moment someone has ill intentions, a signal goes out to the police that makes them spring into action and catch the pig before they have time to push enter? Wishful thinking but here’s hoping.

So are you sharenting? If you’re asking me, you probably are. I think that in this current world we live in there’s no going back, there’s no turning off the switch – we live in technology and we’ve made ourselves transparent. Children are learning to live their lives in front of a camera because as their parents we stop them every two minutes to take a picture or video. Older children are finding value in themselves by how many “likes” they’re getting from people they may or may not know. My daughter who is almost two loves to watch the videos I take of her on my phone - but as her mother I’m selfish – instead of posting that video, I keep it for myself and will often watch it over and over. Sure there are things I choose to share on my public profiles and my private ones but I find I overshare with myself – that might sound a little weird but there’s no other way of putting it!

Why are we so fascinated by sharing our life on the internet? Do people really care what we ate for breakfast or that my kid rolled over today? The way I look at it is we’re documenting life and we have a natural curiosity about what goes on in other people’s homes. Our children are growing so quickly, it’s almost easier to keep the camera on so we can freeze time ALL the time. I remember the days when relatives got yearly updated school pictures and that was enough, now we’re posting every day sometimes every hour every little thing our kids do – we are inadvertently teaching them that this lack of privacy and transparency is normal.

I think we can all agree there is such a thing as oversharing – in my opinion we have every right to be proud of our children, excited about their life and in most cases not let family members who live far away miss out but we also have to keep at the forefront of our minds that the internet is not a safe place, that our children deserve the right to a life without us documenting every second, they deserve to have parents who are present and not worried about posting the next silly/embarrassing thing they do, and they need to learn to live their lives for themselves and not their followers.

So, what’s my final thought? My final thought is to be a sharenting – but keep 95% for yourself.

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