This month's #Mumspeak is on the much-debated topic of Sharenting: the act of sharing pictures and information of your child/children online or on social media.
In today's world of Facebook and Instagram, it is not uncommon to see pictures of important events, special firsts or just day-to-day life. Or even a few lines on what one's child did or said or ate or didn't eat.
Safety concerns apart, anti-sharenters are also concerned about the child's personal space and privacy. A 6-month-old has no say in the matter, but what happens when she's 6-years-old and attends school? Will she be ok with her life being an open book online?
The dilemma becomes trickier for us parent bloggers – if we want to personalise our blog so as to gain a more intimate audience, it is essential to reveal our real family life, pictures et al. And why have an Instagram account if we're not going to click pictures of our kids? But then again, Insta increases followers and stats… you see where I'm going?
Personally, I'm not much of a sharenter, especially when it comes to revealing pictures and real names (at the expense of my blog, but it's a personal choice). Here are my views on the subject, as published on the website
"I am always a bit skeptical about sharing pictures or too much information about my child on social media, because it's a sad fact but a fact nonetheless that it is a dangerous world out there.
I do post pictures on apps like whatsapp which are not public, but refrain from doing so on Facebook/Twitter. I don't even show my son's face on my blog, though I know people would love to see more pictures of him and our family life (being a parenting blog) – but better safe than sorry!
Regarding it having an impact on them – I guess that depends on child to child. Some might grow up to dislike having had their childhood documented and made public; whereas others might think it to be pretty cool. But I would refrain from posting/ writing about anything that could / would embarrass my son when he's older."
Below, mums and mum bloggers share their views on the matter…
Lucy from Lucy At Home
As a parenting blogger, it's virtually impossible to avoid "sharenting" because that's what our business is built on, but actually, I don't like it at all. I firmly believe that my kids' lives belong to them and it should be their choice to share that story online, or not. I would hate it if I found out that someone was documenting my life for the whole world to see. Because of this, my blog is totally anonymous (no face photos, different names, etc) so that whatever I share cannot be traced back to my kids. I think I get the best of both worlds with this – the support of others who read my sharenting posts, without compromising my kids' privacy.
The topic of sharenting is something that lingers about awkwardly in the back of my head whilst I write a blog post or edit an insta. It is a scary thought that, once unleashed, that information is there. Creating a virtual footprint. Open to anyone to see, download, copy, tag or whatever. It is a sobering thought. Then comes the possibility that I am going against my kids and their privacy. Will they want me to be sharing our family life? Will the post of them with chocolate round their mouth be an embarrassment when they are approaching teenage years in a decade? Possibly.
But, looking further on, in twenty or thirty years, when they might have become parents themselves, it might be different. They may read my words and look to my pictures as a form of comfort and guidance. Their father is classed as terminally ill; so a record of family life when all was well seems like a must have for me as his partner, let alone them as his sons. And to share it with friends and family who aren't close by is also a plus. Life is short, and fast. Capturing moments of it just seems worth the risk to me. The fear of regret far outweigh anything else and therefore, I shall always be happy to share.
Carly from Mom of Two Little Girls
I don’t share pictures of my children’s faces on my blog, or their names. I feel that my blog is more about my life as a mother than their life as my children. My blog is my therapy and whilst they are the subject of most of my blog posts, that is not their choice. This position is a difficult one to work around, especially as a Mommy Blogger; they often beg me to do ‘unboxing videos’ so that they can be on YouTube too, but when all is said and done they are not old enough to make an informed decision regarding their online digital footprint and so I have to be the one to make that decision for them.
I don't share photos of Cygnet on social media. My blog is anonymous and I don't share images or identifying details of either us on my blog. That doesn't mean that I think that 'sharenting' is wrong. I think many people in my generation and my parents' generation in particular struggle to get our heads around how social media has changed the concept of identity and how integral social media is and will be to our children's lives. We can either shut social media out, or we can embrace and take ownership of it. I know that at some stage I will start sharing pictures of Cygnet on social media. At some stage he will want to share pictures of himself. I don't know when that will be, but I do hope that both of us will be able to seize the opportunities that social media provides.
It's only recently that I have really given this a whole lot of thought. At the start of my blog, it didn't seem a big deal but over the last year or so I have started to feel that I want to share fewer photos of my Little Man within my posts. I have made a conscious effort recently to go for the photos that are 'faceless' shots. This way it's not completely impersonal. Although I do find it hard when I have a really lovely photo that I want to share with the world. It's a shame that we have to think about it but we have to think about how our kids might feel in a few years time. I think it's a personal choice though and I would never criticise anyone who has different views to me.
Katie from Living Life Our Way
I don't post pictures of her face or her real name. I also don't share details of her MH issues, personal SEND story or general potentially embarrassing stories because I respect her right to privacy and want her to feel comfortable with the information being put out there for the whole world to see. In short, I feel it is her story to tell, not mine.
Victoria from The Growing Mum
I don't post pictures showing his face on my blog and blog socials. On my personal socials, I only share pictures of him when it's a special event like a birthday. Apart from the kid's privacy issues, I feel strongly about being sensitive to those struggling to have a kids
Becky from Baby Budgeting
I don’t share my children’s health diagnosis or areas of challenging behaviour as I feel this is their personal / private information and they may not want the world to know one day, so I have no right to share.
Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums
Depends. On my personal blog I share everything, from them drawing on the walls to tantrums because I feel like it’s important and shows our “real” life. On my money blog I mention them but not as heavily. I am starting to feel like maybe I should stop sharing so much. My eldest has just started school, what happens if her friends find it in a few years time? It’s not an easy decision to make.
I may share a little too much at times, but as my eldest gets older (8) I have started to think twice about what it is I am posting. Also my mother-in-law is on FB and every time I post she tells hubby's dad and we get constant messages.
What are your views on 'Sharenting'? How much is too much? Where do you draw the line, if at all? I'd love to discuss this further… do drop a line or two in the comments.
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