Most of us have posted a zillion pictures of our kids on social media. Hello, our kids are adorable, right?! Why not share their precious faces with the world? Unfortunately researchers, pediatricians, and other children’s advocates have a long list of reasons we shouldn’t, and they are in the early stages of designing public-health campaigns to draw attention to kids’ right to privacy.
In the United States, over 90 percent of two-year-olds already have an online presence, according to a 2010 survey. Today, the average parent will post 1,000 images of their first child by the time they’re five, according to a survey of 2,000 social media users by the charity The Parent Zone.
This phenomenon is known as sharenting. “By the time children are old enough to use social media themselves many already have a digital identity created for them by their parents,” says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the U-M Department of Pediatrics.
“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,” Sarah continues.
There are benefits of posting about your children. Someone might blog about a child’s medical condition as a way to seek or offer support. Or more conventionally, sharing baby photos on Facebook is a way to keep far-flung families feeling close.
With that being said, do you feel the benefits outweigh the potential harm? Let us know in the comments below!