Aw, Mom, did you have to put this on Facebook?
From Facebook to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Blogger, many “wired” parents are sharing their parenting experiences, often beginning before their child’s birth and continuing through high school years. A growing trend, oversharenting, has many children questioning their parents’ decision to post intimate family details online.
Not only can those blog posts, wall posts, feeds, and uploaded images be embarrassing later in life, but sharing all of those teen years of turmoil, emotional hurdles, and growing pains are really no one’s concern but family’s.
It might call it online scrapbooking, but embarrassing details should not be posted for the world to see. There are many ways to share privately online. And, goodness, this shouldn’t be about a growing fan base or status as a cool, tech-savvy parent.
Whatever the motive, parents, please think twice before you post your child’s life experiences online. Though shared out of love, there are several issues to consider:
- Safety. Internet stalkers are real. Pedaphiles are real. Though posted in the digital world, crafty stalkers use clues to discern location with very little effort. How safe are your children when their life is shared online?
- Privacy rights. Is it really appropriate, or legal(?), to let the world to know about the hernia at age 6? Or to share the facial mole surgery?
- Digital footprint. Whose footprint is this – the parents or the child’s? What, and how much, is following the child, tween, teen, young adult?
- College or Employment. Ok, so your child messed up when trespassing on that abandoned lot at age 10. He’s turned out well, and it’s not on public record. But you tweeted it, posted it, and blogged it. You think a college or employer can’t (or won’t) find that?
- Future Spouse. How much cringing can anyone take when that online photo album is opened, again. And again. And again.
- Their own children. It’s going to take the wind out of their sails. Parenting is hard enough, guiding and disciplining children. How will your grown child handle issues when his/her little Johnny can instantly find all their mistakes?