Better, Not Bitter:
Are You Over- Sharenting?
Sharenting combines two words, parenting and sharing, to describe the act of parents sharing their children’s information online. It appears that most folks who are concerned with the issue worry about Facebook sharing, but bloggers are also included as targets in a number of the online conversations regarding the subject.
AVG, an internet security firm out of Amsterdam has conducted an update of their “ongoing research into how families navigate life online,” and some of the results were quite surprising to me. The findings complied in the AVG Digital Diaries 2014 found that 6% of the people surveyed had opened accounts for their children ages 0-2 years old on social media! Or that pre-schoolers spend so much time online they may be falling behind in their mastery of traditional skills, like riding a bike, tying their shoes or writing their first and last names. And in the final age group of 6-9 year olds, the survey found an astonishing 16% were on Facebook even though the site advises a minimum age of 13 for users.
These issues can be challenging for all parents to handle, but when you add co-parenting to the mix, things can get downright difficult. Deciding what to share about your children online is an ongoing conversation that will change as your child ages and new apps and devices are launched into the World Wide Web. Reading these articles and the survey results themselves made it clear that co-parents should try to work together to ensure the safety of your child’s digital footprint.
To be honest, these issues may also be evident in the decisions made about children and online sharing between parents who are married or currently in relationships together. If either mom or dad look at the risks of sharenting differently, problems can easily surface between them. I think it’s best for co-parents to agree on the level of sharenting, just as they work to find solutions for weekend visits, summer vacations and extracurricular activities for their children.
Here are some suggestions to begin the discussion:
1. Online Accounts
Photo Credit: Gajus - Fotolia.comYou both agree to not open a social media or email account in the child’s name. Ever. If your child asks for any type of online account or access, you advise that until both parents have had time to research (read: Google and ask other parents) and discuss, no accounts can be opened. Permission should be a joint decision, if any way possible.