Who doesn’t love to see a cute face on their Facebook timeline? “Sharents” are parents who share photos, stories, and other information about their children on social media. The question is: when is it too much? Parents post for a variety of different reasons, and according to the Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, 72% say it makes them feel less alone, 67% say they get advice from other parents, 62% say it helps them worry less. While all of these are understandable reasons to want to compulsively post photos or information on social media sites, Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the University of Michigan, says it can be dangerous.
“There’s potential for the line between sharing and oversharing to get blurred. Parents may share information that their child finds embarrassing or too personal when they’re older but once it’s out there, it’s hard to undo. The child won’t have much control over where it ends up or who sees it,” Clark said in a press release.
Cyberbullying and even digital identity theft are among the repercussions for oversharing. That’s right, a person could share your child’s photos and claim them as their own, with the photo reaching eyes you didn’t intend it to reach. The photos could also be the butt of a cruel joke, in Facebook groups that make fun of “ugly” babies.
“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 today and in the future,” Clark says.
While it’s perfectly natural to be proud of your child and to want to share their cute little mug with the world — in her cute ninja halloween costume, or at his ballet recital — it’s best to not be considered an “oversharent.”