‘Millennial’ parenting

Parents should think twice before sharing their kids’ information online 

Valeria Velazquez // Contributor

Rebekah Maurice // Illustrator

Sharing our lives through social media has become part of our daily routines. The places we visit, the food we eat, and the people we hang out with are often visible in our social media posts. It often seems harmless, but we can’t always be sure, especially when we share without consent. Enter sharenting: where proud parents unwittingly share their kids’ personal data on social media. The things they share range from uploading baby pictures to sharing their kids grades. It might not seem bad or complicated, but as the phenomenon grows, the ethics of it are being called into question. 

Think about this: You, as an adult, consciously make the choice of sharing personal information on your social media. You (hopefully) are aware that there are consequential or beneficial aspects involved for you.  Yet, even as adults, we sometimes struggle with the concept of the reach and vastness of the internet, so why put a minor in this vulnerable position without their consent?  

Every parent has the freedom to choose how to raise their own kids. They decide what tools to give, what values to instill and what behaviours to promote. These vary from family to family but I think—or at least I would hope—that something every parent wants and tries to do is show love and support for their kids.  

Love can be shown through actions: protection, environmental setting and opportunity provision for future success are but a few ways parents do this. Unfortunately, this can be jeopardized when parents share their kids’ lives on their personal internet platforms. Sexual predators, identity theft, and bullying derived from an adult’s post about their kid are some of the very real consequences. But beyond being safe, it is also confidentiality and consent. In real life, we knock on doors and ask before sharing information, so why not online?. If the children are not old enough to make a decision for themselves, parents should think twice before posting photos or videos.  

Some of the questions a parent could ask themselves before making a publication of this sort should be: Who will have access to it? What exactly am I sharing? Why am I sharing it? Reflect on if it is actually necessary or beneficial in any way, sense or form. Keep a kid’s needs in mind before your own social media feed. If you’re willing to trade your child’s privacy for a couple “likes” or “aws,” reevaluation may be necessary. Yet again, if we are not sure of the effects, then why even do it? 

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