We need to talk about Sharenting

Sharenting is a term which first appeared in a 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal about ‘oversharenting’, and refers to parents sharing pictures and videos of their children on social media and internet platforms for fame or financial gain.

Whether or not to share pictures of their children online is a big decision for many parents and one that often requires a fair amount of deliberation. The fact is that there is no right or wrong answer and each parent knows what is best for their family.

In most cases, parents post pictures of their children on the internet and social media platforms for the purpose of sharing memories with family and friends.

However, there has recently emerged a new trend of parents, particularly social media influencers, sharing content featuring their children for the purpose of making money or gaining followers.

It was recently reported by The Times journalist Charles Bremner that the French parliament is now considering a bill, backed by the French government headed up by President Macron, which would make it illegal for parents to share images and videos of their children online without the child’s consent, according to their age.

There are two main concerns with social media content featuring children. The first is that, in some cases, the content can be exploitative, and children may be subjected to humiliation or fear in order to capture a picture or video.

The latest examples of this include trends such as ‘the cheese challenge’ which involves parents throwing a slice of processed cheese at a baby’s face and posting a video of their reaction. Another example is the ‘children’s police’ prank, in which parents post a video of their child’s reaction to hearing an audio clip of a police officer saying, “Your kid isn’t listening to you. We’re coming to put him in prison.”

President of the Observatory for Parenthood and Digital Education Thomas Rohmer commented, “There are parents making several thousand euros a month throwing spoonfuls of mashed potato at their children’s faces.

“These practices amount to digital violence while the battle was successfully fought to get rid of spanking and other humiliating practices.”

It was also discovered by the Observatory for Parenthood and Digital Education that the average child has their image shared on social media 1,300 times before the age of 13.

If you are unsure whether sharing pictures of your children, grandchildren or other child relatives is the best thing for your family, this article by Verywell Mind provides some helpful insight into the impact of sharing pictures of young children on the internet, and tips for ‘better sharenting’ if you do decide to post this type of content. 

There is also a wealth of information, studies and advice on the internet to help you make an informed decision.

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