Hey everyone! Long time, little talk. I have been so busy creating over on my YouTube channel and spending time prepping for the holidays. If you haven’t checked out my channel yet I will link it here for you!
Today I wanted to blog about something that is near and dear to me, while also avoiding offending anyone. I recently read an article on The Bump app about the term Sharenting. Basically it was described as the act of oversharing about your child/ren. I believe this applies mainly to social media but in my mind it would be all the time. Whether you’re sharing a story, photo, video, sound clip, whatever it may be, in person or online, have you ever asked yourself, “am I a sharent?”
As the world of social media has taken off, so has the opportunity to share any, and sometimes every, moment of our lives. You can post pictures on Instagram, status updates on Facesbook, vlogs on YouTube, videos on Snapchat, your location when you check-in places your visiting. You can share everything about your day – your opinion on the food you just ate, the fact that you just visited the doctor, your biggest fear. All for what exactly? Is it a means to fit in, connect with the world in a way that never used to be possible, feel rewarded, portray a perfect life – only you can answer that question.
Sharing can be see in the parent world too, in fact sharing might be most prevalent in the parent world. And today’s post will be on the niche of parent oversharers, aka. sharents. What point do you begin to overshare? At what point do you become a sharent? These questions can also only be answered by you. More often than not, I find people are labeled as oversharers before they themselves realize they may have overshared. How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you’re being told a story or reading a post on social media and all of the sudden there are details communicated that make you say WOAH! that was an overshare? It happens to me A LOT. My Mom and I joke that we have a big stamp on our foreheads that says, “tell me your life story.” Or maybe we just come across as easy to talk to. 😏 I think mostly social norms dictate when an overshare has occurred. What is ok to share varies from person to person, group to group, country to country so grace must be given to those who you think overshare. Maybe its not an overshare to them!
Now that I’ve prefaced all of that, I will go ahead and say I am NOT a sharent. If you guys follow me regularly you probably could have already guessed that. I am overall a pretty private person (ppp) and this definitely affected how I am as a parent. I rarely share information about my daughter specifically and even more rarely share photos of her (specifically of her face). My goal is to not be a sharent and maybe even a little bit less sharing than that.
You may be asking why? You may be looking at yourself as a parent and questioning your sharing decisions. I will say again that everyone’s experience as a parent is their own. Whatever you decide is right for you and your family is just that. Similarly, my husband and I have decided that limiting our sharing of information about our daughter is what is right for us.
Don’t get me wrong, I literally have the most adorable baby there ever was. Not kidding. I take millions of photos and videos of this girl and then weep while looking at them as she sleeps. I want to share her photos so badly say on my IG page because I know that there would be many other mamas, friends and followers who would love to watch her grow. So what keeps me from doing it? This – What happens when someone else out there sees her photo, decides she’s the cutest as well and uses that in a negative or harmful way. Keeping it extra real alert – If you’re unaware of digital kidnapping, google that, or any of the other things that could happen to a photo you share. That thought makes me sick to my stomach – that I would be vain enough to post her pictures or information and risk her safety. You may think, “Ok, Alyse. Calm down. Its not that serious,” because I have had similar thoughts. I’ve tried rationalizing it all but ya know what, for me and my family, it is something I take that seriously and something that makes me uncomfortable. As a mom I HAVE to listen to my gut.
On a less horror movie note, what happens when you’ve shared every moment of your little’s life on social media and he/she grows up distraught or bothered by that? He/She goes to school and friends are able to pull up a picture of when they were 5 years old crying at Chuck E’ Cheese. A girlfriend/boyfriend is able to pull up a picture from when they were 2 taking a bath. An employer is able to pull up that one time you posted about him/her being a hard-headed teenager.
I have even thought about how we share with family. You would think when sharing with a family member there should be no problems. What about when you text a family member a photo or video of your little? Or when you post a photo to your Facebook where you’re certain that only people you trust can see your feed? That photo is now on their phone or computer (aka. they have a copy of it) and it becomes shareable on their end. I assume you trust the person you send this information to but what about the people they send it to? Do you trust them? Do you even know them?
Additionally I have thought about the social media pressure that comes with sharing online. As I’ve already mentioned, my daughter is so cute and I’m sure would garner plenty of photo likes. But what if there weren’t many likes? Or what if there were negative comments that I couldn’t delete? What happens when she grows up and is able to recall these things, reads any negative troll comments and compares her photos to others? How will this affect her? I can only assume in a negative way.
About now you’re probably thinking, “How many more what ifs can you pose!” What happens though! I don’t know, and again it’s not something I feel comfortable risking. What’s wrong with letting your child make their own decision to have a social media presence when they are old enough to make it themselves? You have the opportunity to give them the gift of a clean digital presence. You may think “my baby, my rights” but is that 100% true? Your baby is a person. One who will have to live with and be affected by all the decisions you make as a parent. No pressure. So why not think about the possible consequences of your social media actions?
As parents, we go out of our way to research, double-check, and protect our babies in every way humanly possible. Why should we look at social media any differently? My point behind writing this post is to get people to at least rethink their sharing decisions as parents not shame decisions/sharing you’ve already made/done. If you read this post and end up coming to the same conclusions, great! If you end up tweaking some things about the way you share and protect your littles, great! Some times all it takes is someone bringing something to light.
Straight up sincerely,