Two years ago I published a piece about sharents. In that post I wrote the following about kid’s online privacy:
Another thing concerning the privacy is the possible confidence issue. Posting pics of chubby babies and toddlers attracts many likes and lovely comments. Chubby little ones are cute, right? But what seems appropriate FOR THE PARENTS NOW can change with years. Who knows that the then chubby kids would not get confidence or body issues when they grow up after others find pictures of them their sharents put on the net and get bullied because of it? Before, sharenting these details of childhood came only to the surface during birthday parties. Today these are omnipresent, the information is retrievable 24/7.
Pic is courtesy of The Telegraph
Last month, fellow blogger Pypy shared a status of a mother on Facebook. This mother wrote that she used to blog and shared quite an amount of her daughter pics. The daughter is now a teen. Some kids at the school found the mother’s blog and bullied the daughter with the pics and information available there. The daughter then asked the mother to shut down the blog but it is difficult because the mother forgot the password and the e-mail she used. Now the daughter is angry at the mother.
Reading this I feel sorry for both the mother and the daughter. The mother had never expected information she shared about the daughter would be used for bullying. The daughter is being bullied with something her mother shared about her, without her consent because she was too young to object when her mother shared her info online.
I feel sad as well because one possible situation I described above in the sharents post, came true. Let this remind all sharents out there to consider the online sharing better. Inevitably, parents are proud of their kids and want to tell the world about this but please respect your kids online now matter how young they are. I can almost hear sharents counter argumenting “Oh, but this does no harm, she/he is just a kid’. That is why! A kid is not capable yet of expressing its thoughts clearly. She/he is just a kid but most of all it is a human being. Yes you are the parent but your kid is an individual. She/he will grow as a teen and adult and might object the sharing. What would you do if you are confronted with exactly the same situation above?
If you want to see examples of sharenting, go visit STFU, Parents.
Last year my 14 years old daughter G deleted her Facebook, Instagram & Twitter due to her own reasons and examples of excessive online presence gone wrong in her surroundings. Now she is only online on Snapchat and WhatsApp to communicate with her friends. She is now watching over me on Instagram. She has asked me not to share my fitness training progress pics online no matter how eager I am to be on an online fitness community. She said her friends know me and are able to google me. She is not comfortable with the idea that the boys from her school could see me in my fitness gear. So I complied. I don’t even make an anonymous fitness Instagram account because I respect her. Some of you might think this is a reversed kid-parent role but I am ok with it because in order to teach your kids to respect others, you need to respect them not only in words but in action. And this applies of course not only on online issues but offline as well.
Closing this post I emphasize this once more: sharents or not what you put on the net stays forever.