.Are you sharing too much online about your kids? From social media, blog posts or photos, maintaining privacy and our modern world can be a challenge.
I came across an article from The Wall Street Journal titled The Facebook-Free Baby—Are you a mom or dad who’s guilty of ‘oversharenting’? The cure may be to not share at all. Author Steven Leckart discusses why parents share too much online about their kids, as well as repercussions for doing so.
We post about our kids for several reasons:
- We like to update our friends and families about our kids, from first baby pictures to a recording of their Christmas recital. Particularly for parents who live far from families, sites like Facebook are the only ways relatives can catch a glimpse of the little ones.
- Parenthood can be lonely. Taking photos, writing blogs and posting on mom boards offer parents a chance to fill the day. Parents with no close physical ties to other parents can also turn to the online community for support and camaraderie.
- Kids are just so darn cute. We’re proud of them. We love their jokes. And we want our friends and family to know how ridiculously amazing they are.
- We actually want a digital record online. With technology at our fingertips, sharing on Facebook or blogs is an easy way to record and retrieve memories and milestones.
The downsides of sharing too much online about our kids
Amid these reasons, the author isn’t as concerned with why we’re sharing too much online, but the consequences of doing so. He writes:
[…] the more of our lives we put online from the beginning, the more there is to contend with later on.
Publicizing our kids has been done in the past, but the internet age poses something new. Now we have a chronological order of everything we post, so much so that children born these days will have a public, digital record of their lives.
And thus, we have to ask ourselves whether we’re sharing too much online about our kids.
While most of our posts and pictures are harmless, there may be some instances that could present a problem for kids in their future. Photos are public, available for anyone to use for whatever purposes they want.
The public record of our kids may be used against them as adults. I also worry about safety, and wonder whether providing too much information will invite unwanted attention.
How to find a better balance
I try to find a balance. On Facebook, I post a few photos and blurbs about my toddler and adjusted my settings. Even though I don’t have many friends on Facebook to begin with, I still set my privacy setting to narrow down who can view the pictures.
I’ve also posted funny blurbs about my toddler, but each time I do, I ask myself whether doing so can embarrass, harm or cause problems for him in the future. If it could, then I don’t share.
But all this may seem hypocritical coming from a blogger whose entire site stars my toddler. This blog highlights many aspects of his life and includes details of private scenarios.
How do I meld my desire to minimize his online presence with posts about him on the internet for all to read?
These were the questions I grappled with when I launched this blog. For two years, I wrote the blog for family and friends and kept the settings private so that only a few people could access the site.
Even with the privacy settings turned on and names and photos omitted, I wondered whether I was still sharing too much. I wondered why I was turning to the internet to share his stories to begin with.
Would my toddler come back as a 25-year-old and regret that his mom had posted XY and Z about him for all to read?
Clearly, I have since publicized the site to extend beyond family and friends. I wanted to balance privacy while creating a site that could help other parents.
I decided not to post photos of him on the blog and I’ve also omitted his name. And while I provide general information about him, I make sure they remain vague enough as well.
I’ve also been more mindful of how I present my toddler. I’m comfortable sharing tantrums and potty training because these topics seem common enough.
On the other hand, I had described writing an amazing article but deleted it for fear that I would stigmatize my toddler by labeling him too much.
The label wasn’t negative, but I was afraid that it might unfairly categorize him too early and limit his potential.
So far, this balance has been the happy medium that works for me. For the author of the WSJ article, complete anonymity and no photos of his kid online are preferred. For others, “oversharenting” may not even be an issue at all. We all do what works for us.
Given the wide range of comfort levels and parenting methods, I’m not surprised we have no guideline on how much is too much and which method is “right.”
Discuss related topics:
- Should Parents Post Pictures of Their Naked Kids Online?
- Why I Don’t Feel Guilty for Not Taking Many Photos of My Kids
- 7 Smart Ways to Protect Your Child from Predators
- What I Learned by Disconnecting from Technology
- Should Moms ‘S.T.F.U’ and Stop Over-Sharing Online?
How about you—do you think you’re sharing too much online about your kids? What swayed your decision whether to post photos, names or moments of your kids on social network sites or blogs?
Get time management strategies, FREE!
Do you feel overwhelmed balancing the needs of your family and your role as a mom? Struggling to find the time to get everything done? Get organized with a FREE copy of my ebook, Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom!