What is Sharenting? Sharenting is a rather new term used for parents who share their parenting experience (things their kids do), both good and bad on social media sites, most commonly Facebook. Before I read a story about it on The Huffington Post, I had never even thought of this concept of sharenting. Yes, I’ve seen posts that fit this category while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, but I had no clue there was a name for the action.
When I think of “sharenting” in a pre-social media world, my mind automatically goes to the episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ricky promise one another that they won’t turn into those parents who bore all of their friends with photos and stories of Little Ricky. By the end of the episode, they inevitably turn into those parents that they didn’t want to become. The truth is, all parents do this. Part of being a parent is being proud of your child’s accomplishments and wanting to share those amazing accomplishments with friends and family.
Facebook has allowed for parents to share everything their kids do with the entire world with just the click of a button. I see nothing wrong with sharing on Facebook the GOOD things kids do, like Lucy and Ricky, as long as it’s done in moderation. That is not the type of sharenting I am talking about here. The problem I see with Sharenting, as developing studies are showing, is when parents start to share the BAD things their kids do.
According to an article done by Helene Cohen Bludman on The Huffington Post, sharenting includes sharing stories about behavioral problems, discipline, grades, attitude, etc. in addition to all the positive stories. All I can say is I am so glad I went through childhood before Facebook took over the world of parenting, although I don’t believe my parents would have shared negative stories about me on the web.
When it comes down to it, the issue with sharing negative stories about your kids online lies in the idea that behavioral problems you’re having with your kids is none of your Facebook friends’ business. Sharing that your kid thrashed the living room and adding a comment about how you plan on disciplining him/her should be private, not posted for the whole world to see. Studies so far are showing that negative sharenting is harmful to kids. We do not know what the future holds for uses of social media sites.
Here’s one scenario that comes to mind: Parent A shares a story about how her son (Child A) is still afraid of the dark. Parent B sees the post and tells his wife the story, their son (Child B) overhears the story and uses it against Child A the next day at school. That’s a very generic example, but you get the point. I’m not a parent, I’m only a 20-year-old college student, but I do get to see sharenting going on every time I open Facebook and I have to agree with the studies that prove the negative results of sharing a little too much about your kids’ behavior.