Multilingual working mom in marketing communication field
Most parents are undoubtedly proud of their children. That is why they are eager to share news about them. (Shutterstock/-)
Sharents (share - parent) are parents who share too much about their children online, be it on a blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or any other social networks they have. Sharents share literally every single step their children make.
Mind you, this is just my two cents, not a judgment. And it is written based on my role as a mother of a teenage girl and as a professional working in online communication.
Reasons for sharenting
According to my observation, these are the top reasons for sharenting:
Most parents are undoubtedly proud of their children. That is why they are eager to share news about them.
On the other hand, there are other people who love children too. These people like to follow the growth and lives of the children of their relatives. Supply and demand meet here. And social networks provide a platform to fulfill this.
With one click, parents can share first steps, first words online. With one click, they can reach everyone in their network. With one click, those who love pics and news about their relatives’ and friends’ children can join in and express approval. It is easy, fast and does not cost a rupiah.
Parents do this kind of things online regularly; Sharents do this excessively.
Most mothers (the majority of sharents are mothers, hence the term 'mommyblogger') tend to be sharents for reasons of self-representation. Knowing women’s nature, those mothers think and believe that if they do not share about their children, they will not be considered real mothers.
To be honest, I’m one of these. As someone who describes herself as a ‘”loving mother” in online profiles, I feel the urge to share more about my child- otherwise I feel I would be claiming to be something I’m not. And that would feel so wrong.
But then, after weighing the pros and cons, I decided not to share too much.
Sharing is indeed caring. However, the boundaries between sharing and showing off are vague. It is up to the readers to judge this.
Here is a new trend in sharenting: sharents attach a mini camera to their toddler’s helmet so they can see the world through their children’s point of view. These sharents share this online and other sharents follow.
For me, this trend is a form of overscientified parenting. Why can’t sharents let their children be children without constantly documenting, monitoring and sharing the moments online?
Be really aware that what you post on the net stays their forever. The digital footprint of children nowadays begins when they are still in their mum’s womb.
There is nothing wrong with that - expectant parents are overjoyed and want to shout out to the whole world that the little one is coming. But what happens afterwards is crucial in forming the children’s digital footprint.
The official definition of a digital footprint is the data trail of users of online media. The difference with digital footprints is that it is not the children themselves who leave the data trail.
Sometimes I am shocked at how blithely sharents put details of the places their kids regularly visit such as the name of the school, music and dance school. Perhaps some of you might think I'm exaggerating, but people with bad intentions browse the net too.
A survey carried out by Eircom in February 2014 shows nearly 80 percent think parents overshare their family lives.
Parents must realize that no matter how proud they are of their children, later on, when the children grow up, it will be they who live with the consequences of the parents’ online actions. They did not ask for it and, in case of young children, they are not able to object.
Here are some things to consider before you share something about your children online:
- Keep the information general; no details, for security reasons.
- Feeling the urge to share pictures? Please do this but avoid uploading eight identical pictures at once time.
- Do not share information that could humiliate your kids later on (ex. A photo of a sick child covered in vomit).
- Be aware of third-party apps that you grant access to your data on Facebook. Always set the settings to private.
Not all negative
To be fair, sharents also provide us with a wealth of useful information regarding parenting. Many mommy bloggers share useful how-to’s and tutorials. Tips and tricks to deal with teens are also easy to find online.
At the end of the day, sharing is not all negative; oversharing is.
Lorraine Riva is a multilingual working mom in marketing communication field, self-taught photographer, foodie, art lover, Francophil and history nerd, living with husband and a teen daughter in a tiny place called Huissen in The Netherlands nearby German border.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.