Sharenting: is the excessive use of social media by parents, who continually publish photos of their children. Risks and practical tips
Posting photos of their children on social media is a habit of many parents, and not just VIPs. But is it right to do so and what are the risks of sharenting? You need to be very careful.
There are some tips to follow and many important things to know when sharing photos of underage children on Facebook or Instagram. We asked for information from Gianluigi Bonanomi, IT journalist and trainer on digital communication issues, as well as author of the book Sharenting. Parents and the risks of online overexposure (Mondadori Education).
The writer explained to us what it consists of sharenting and what are the risks linked to it, offering some important tricks if you choose to publish photos of your children on social media.
Gianluigi Bonanomi is also the author of the site www.sharenting.it, where you can find a test to do to understand if you have a sharenting problem or not.
In this article
Meaning: what is sharenting?
Sharenting is the crasis between two terms, one meaning “sharing” and the other “parenting”. Are the parents put their children online for several reasons.
«For some years I have been going around schools, companies, organizations and associations to tell about his knowledge of technology, my great passion compared to the main profession, which is that of digital communicator. Eight years ago I became a parent and I thought I wanted to make a contribution on the conscious use of technology to families.
I realized that often the focus is almost always on the minor and little on the parents. On the other hand, the problem for parents is growing: they are often the ones who put the children at risk, sometimes even unwittingly.
So I did a research and I came across various studies in the United States that dealt with the topic of Sharenting. The latter is the crasis between two terms, one meaning “sharing” and the other “parenting”. I noticed that in Italy there was no structured work on this issue, so I collected some material, did several interviews and published a book.
Sharenting doesn’t happen because children get online, but because parents put their children online for various reasons. Sharenting is the excessive use of social media by parents, who continually share photos and videos of their children or events that have happened to them “.
The data in Italy and the reasons
Sharenting: the data
“There are many parents who post photos of their children in Italy. The data in this regard, in particular, are different: there are differences between mothers and fathers, primiparous and not, between those who already have a strong participation on social networks and those who do not. In principle, the phenomenon is growing.
There are even mothers who publish pictures of babies who do not yet exist and who are still in their womb. In this case, some of the most frequent phenomena are the publication of the baby’s ultrasound scans and even the creation of the profile of the baby to come.
Then there is also a emulative phenomenon of influencers, who use their children for attention ».
Why are the photos of children published on social networks
Why does this happen? There are three reasons.
- The first is the “social vitrification“of the current era, that is, due to social media, we are living a reality that is continuously shared on social pages and which is visible to others.
- The second reason is insecurity: Parents use their children to get positive feedback, especially if they find their life uninteresting.
- The third is the sharing real, that is, wanting to show your children to distant people (relatives, friends, etc.): it would be better not to do it on Instagram or Facebook, at most you can do it on Whatsapp. If you really want to share content related to children, you can use platforms made specifically for sharenting.
“What are the consequences of sharenting? Many parents underestimate them, thinking they are doing nothing wrong. Instead, there are risks ».
What are the most serious risks?
- Privacy issues
- Safety issues
- Child pornography risk
- Embarrassment for children
“First of all, that of privacy is the main problem.
Then there is the problem of safety. Children are overexposed through social media, telling everything they do (where they play volleyball, where they go to the park, etc.) and what they like: an attacker, in the case of grooming (baiting on the net), thus has all the elements to be able to intervene and make oneself nice and close to the eyes of the child.
Then there is the child pornography: half of the photos found in the databases of pedophiles we provide them to them practically on chat, social networks, forums: this statement, the result of an Australian study, which I reported in the book, is unfortunately very disturbing.
The cyberbullying is another risk: the parent, unwittingly posting photos of the child, perhaps after he fell or got dirty, ridicules the child. Cyberbullies can use the posted material to bully the child.
Another consequence not to be overlooked is theembarrassment caused in children: some parents do not ask their children for permission to publish. Some rebel: Apple, daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow, under an Instagram photo of the Hollywood actress who portrayed her daughter wearing a helmet on a vacation, wrote as a comment to her mother’s post: “Stop posting my photos.” The mother replied: “But it is not even clear that it is you, you also have sunglasses”, without realizing the right of the girl, showing an insensitivity to the grievances of her daughter. Abroad there have also been some lawsuits for sharing brought forward by children against their parents and in Italy we are starting to have sentences linked to parents who publish excessive photos of their children ».
Precautions to be taken to avoid exposing your children to the risks of the web
- “The most important thing is to have common sense: this does not mean that you should not publish photos on social media, but that privacy must be respected, perhaps taking a different shot, …