Sharenting: A parent's right to share and a child's right to privacy

Sharenting: a parent's right to share and a child's right to privacy

Social media brings our community together but is it also taking over our lives?

"People constantly have their phones on them and are constantly looking at them," 18 year old Grace Schultz said. "You go on campus and you see people buried in their phones.”

As technology advances children are getting hooked at an even earlier age. Gainesville mother of two, Deanna Henriksen, said her kids are digital natives.

"My two year old knows how to open my phone and get into my camera. It's natural for them, they’ve had this their whole lives," she said.

Parents are typically the first to monitor what their kids post but do they ever think about if their own posts could affect their kids?

You don’t have to look scroll too far on your feed to find a parent sharing a child’s success story or even an embarrassing moment. Legal expert Stacey Steinberg calls this “sharenting”.

"The intersection between a parents right to share and a child’s right to privacy, that’s how I define the legal issues surrounding sharenting," Steinberg said.

She said the issue is: when parents share without their children’s consent are they infringing on their child’s digital footprint?

"I think that it’s a new novel issue that most of us haven’t really given much thought to. I know that i hadn’t thought much into it that’s why I went ahead at looking into it," she said. "The goal is to not really stop parents from sharing all together but to encourage them to think about it just like they think about other issues that involve their child’s well being."

Steinberg has published her research in several journals. She has guidelines for parent to take into account before posting.

1. Don’t share your child’s location.

"They should be more careful about what they put out there, people have locations services on their phone there’s so many ways people can find you if they want to," Schultz said.

2. Use caution before sharing your child’s full name and date of birth.

"The potential for the information to get into the wrong or dangerous hands- there’s a possibility if the photo is shared publicly that someone who wants to use it for illicit purposes might get it," Steinberg said.

3. Be careful about posting photos of your child at any stage of undress.

"I never post any bathtub photos or anything like thatbeing very aware and taking strategic pictures so not too much is shown," Henriksen said.

4. Avoid sharing information about behavior concerns about their children as well, and if they feel they need to get advice, post it anonymously.

5. Talk to your kids and think about if what you post now, could come back to haunt your kids later.

"If information is shared about a child when they are younger that information has the potential to last years into the child’s future and it could reveal itself in many embarrassing ways over the course of a child’s lifetime," Syeinberg said.

With kids growing up in a world centered around likes and followers, parents must remember to set the example.


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