Oversharenting: How do parents destroy their child’s privacy online?

Some influencers who reach millions of dollars in social media reach are still walking around in diapers. Although they are unable to put together a full sentence, their lives are lived in front of the whole world, and privacy online is non-existent. Parents, unaware of the dangers and long-term consequences, are repeatedly sharing photos, videos and memes starring their children.

Parents' influence on their child's digital identity

Diaries and family photo albums have been supplanted by social media. Parents, though more often mothers than fathers, regularly share information online about their child’s appearance, behavior, development and even problems. Without a second thought, they share his or her image, starting as early as ultrasound photos and ending with compromising footage of failures. They treat their offspring objectively, forgetting their right to privacy or dignity.

Meanwhile, the traces that parents leave on the Internet become part of their child’s psychological profile. In the future, it can be analyzed by universities and recruitment agencies. Background screening is one of the most effective methods of verifying candidates. It exposes digital identities built up over years, while revealing compromising content posted online by parents.

Excessive sharing of baby photos

The phenomenon of exaggerated sharing of a child’s image online is called oversharenting. It is a form of cyberbullying, the origins of which can be traced to parents’ strong identification with their children, their desire to be the center of attention, but also the pressure exerted by mothers on social media.

Oversharenting – the scale of the phenomenon

Oversharenting is a multidimensional phenomenon with a global reach. In a survey conducted by toy manufacturer Fisher-Price, 90% of Australians admitted to over-sharing their child’s image. In contrast, an AVG survey revealed that 92% of two-year-olds in the United States have already “left” a digital footprint.

Making fun of children online

An extreme example of oversharenting is troll parenting. Parents spread humiliating content on the Internet, such as photos of their children on the potty, memes with their sons dressed as princesses, or videos of toddlers crying after a visit to the dentist. These, due to their comical nature, are very popular. Unfortunately, as a consequence, they bring just as many problems.

Negative consequences of oversharenting and troll parenting:

  • crossing the child’s privacy boundaries,
  • loss of trust, trauma and deterioration of the parent-child relationship,
  • exposing the child to heckling, criticism, ridicule by peers,
  • unwanted popularity and growing up under pressure from Internet users,
  • child identity theft (digital kidnapping) – use of the child’s image by third parties (including pedophiles).

Sharing a child's image - safety rules

Sharing family memories on social media or a child’s successes doesn’t have to be harmful if a parent uses common sense. How to ensure his privacy online?

  1. Post only photos that do not show your child’s face or naked body (for example, at the beach).
  2. If he is already a teenager, be sure to ask his permission to make the image public. You can ask for help in choosing the best shot.
  3. Before you share anything online, consider whether what is funny today will be embarrassing in a few years.
  4. Enable restrictions on the visibility of content on your profile to friends or selected people (e.g., only family members).

Oversharenting and troll parenting - FAQ

Learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions!

Sharenting – what is it?

When parents excessively post photos, videos and posts on social media, stripping their children of privacy, we talk about the phenomenon of sharenting (a combination of the words “share” and “parent”, meaning “share” and “parent”).

Oversharenting – what is it?

Oversharenting is an extreme example of sharenting. Parents’ online activity is based on reporting all the details of their child’s life online.

Troll parenting – what is it?

Content that disparages, ridicules or humiliates a child online is a form of cyberbullying, called troll parenting. They depict difficult experiences and the emotions caused by them.

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