University of Michigan Health System (2015). ‘Sharenting’ trends: Do parents share too much about kids on social media?. Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/uomh-td031115.php.
“However, 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.”
Nelson, J. (2015). Why Parents Should Be Mindful of (Over) Sharenting. Retrieved from http://yourteenmag.com/2015/09/sharenting/.
Then there’s the possible impact on your adolescent’s real-world life. Sure, that may seem improbable, but it is a possibility, say the experts. Social media activity can live on forever, and many more people are privy to our activity than most of us may realize.
These two nuggets are very similar, probably because they come from articles discussing the results of a poll conducted by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital which questioned parents about their online habits. I chose these passages because I believe that parents today, as the first generation raising their kids in a world where the Internet, social media and blogs are widely available, perhaps have not anticipated the consequences of the so-called “sharenting” (a mash-up of the words “parenting” and “sharing”).
As mentioned in the passages above, what we publish online can literally live forever. Even if we delete a post, someone could’ve easily taken a screenshot of it and saved it – and that happens a lot nowadays, especially when someone posts something embarrassing or dumb online. So it wouldn’t be completely far-fetched to think that a “cute” potty-training Facebook post shared today could one day be seen by a college recruiter, a human resources employee, a future boss or a potential business associate. And while I personally wouldn’t judge someone by their parents’ oversharing, I don’t believe everyone would be so kind all the time.
Another problem that comes to mind, more serious than posts about potty-training, temper tantrums and made-up words, is that some parents might inadvertently share medical information online. I personally have seen parents discussing their kids’ ADHD diagnosis and medications on Facebook. This kind of sensitive information should remain private, because even though discriminating against someone because of a medical condition is a crime, we can’t be sure that won’t happen anyways. Therefore, the message is very clear for parents everywhere: think before you share.