The term “sharenting” has been gaining ground , particularly over the past decade or so… But, what exactly does it mean?
We have all seen endless photos and videos of our friends’ and families’ kids on social media . Sometimes it seems as though parents chronicle  every waking moment of their children’s lives, from the minutes after birth to those angsty  teenage years.
The term “sharenting” loosely refers to the overuse of social media by parents sharing content of their children online, such as baby pictures and details of their children's activities. In fact, studies estimate that over 90 percent of American children have a social media presence by age 2.
However, sharenting doesn’t stop at posting photos online. Sharenting can also occur in inconspicuous  ways: through the use of fertility apps, Amazon wish lists, Nest cams, and even photos stored on cloud servers.
There are perils  associated with sharing photos, videos, and seemingly harmless information about your children online.
Though to many it may seem a harmless way to keep friends and family in the loop , there are genuine dangers associated with “sharenting”.
It has led to an increase in incidents of identity theft and fraud. “Barclays”, a British financial services company, estimated that by 2030 nearly two-thirds of identity-fraud cases affecting today’s children will have resulted from sharenting.
What’s more, sharenting can have unintended consequences for a child’s future job prospects and professional reputation.
Sharing may also put your child at risk for kidnapping, both digitally and in-person. A recent piece by The Today Show found that more information about our children than we think can be gathered by strangers online. Cyber safety expert Jesse Weinberger pored over the social media accounts of two parents, and was able to uncover intimate details of their personal lives, including where their children went to school, what park they normally frequent, and where they live. In the wrong hands, information like this can pose a real safety threat and presents ripe opportunities for kidnappers.
According to the New York Times, by sharing data, “parents risk unwittingly exposing their children to data broker profiling, hacking, facial recognition tracking, pedophilia and other threats to privacy and security.”
Moreover, some claim that even if there aren’t inherent  dangers associated with sharenting, there are ethical reasons for parents to refrain from sharenting. It comes down to, some would say, consent. The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is: Does sharenting constitute  a violation of privacy?
So, why do parents engage in such sharenting? Is it really that harmful?
Proponents of sharenting would insist that there is no harm in it and, in fact, allows them to share priceless memories of their children with their loved ones.
Many children even aspire to become famous online content creators and, as Taylor Lorenz, staff writer for The Atlantic Monthly points out, “It can be scary in one sense to feel like there’s this whole narrative about yourself that you don’t control and you never consented to. But, it can also be thrilling.”
What can and should we do differently to protect our kids?
One option is to put stronger regulations and laws in place, that afford children more protection and privacy. For example, in France, kids can sue their parents for sharing too much about them and can face fines of up to €45,000.
Another solution is for parents to at least put safeguards in place to make their social media profiles a little more private. For example, parents can change their Instagram settings to “private” and their Facebook account settings from “public” to “friends only”. Lastly, parents can turn off the location services button on their phones when posting photos, to ensure that photos cannot be geo-tracked by others.
Does “sharenting” seem like a problem? What are the dangers associated with “sharenting”? What can parents do to protect their children while keeping friends and family updated about their lives? Share your thoughts with your Ringle tutor and improve your English skills.