With social media being so prevalent in our society, there is a discussion from how much sharing is too much? “Sharenting” is the term coined by many parents who regularly share pictures and videos of their children in public spaces. So why is this causing such a divide?
Sharenting is when parents regularly share pictures and videos of their children on social media on a regular basis. Parents love to share public pictures and videos of their children for many reasons!
TO STAY CONNECTED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Sometimes, we cannot be close to our friends and family and it is easy to post pictures and videos so they can keep up with what your children are up to. Sharing videos and pictures helps family and friends stay connected and feel apart of the family even though they don’t live close by.
TO POSSIBLY BECOME FAMILY INFLUENCERS
This is very rare but some parents see the opportunity that their beautiful family may be ready for influencer fame. By regularly sharing intimate moments of their families lives, they believe they can help other families, educate other families or entertain other families. Many family influencers join forces with brands that they believe in to endorse products to their followers. In exchange for the endorsement, families are paid affiliate fees, a sponsorship deal or both.
Some families create great educational and/or entertaining content sharing their family with the world.
There are also countless reasons why families would share their family moments with an audience!
THE NEGATIVITY OF SHARENTING
Sharenting comes with some downfalls. Many parents don’t want to think about predators, identity thieves and scammers online. They do exist and are much more common than people would like to believe. Secondly, many parents only worry about these things when they are victims of fraud or identity theft. Other parents share online publicly and never have a problem!
SHARENTING ON TV
Many shows that have sharenting moments cause big debates on television! Recently a show called The Blended Bunch on TLC caused a stir when a moment was shared between step mom and her three year old bonus son on the toilet. The child is adorable and it was a sweet moment as he asked for help in the bathroom. Other viewers felt this scene should not have been shared publicly as the child is on the toilet and deserves his privacy. We search for balance in every parenting situation. Thankfully, both sides of the debate had the child’s best interest when stating their opinions, sharing innocent moments verses protecting a child’s privacy and right to consent to being on television during intimate moments.
We asked Private Investigator Jax Menez Atwell, owner of Atwell Investigations to help us on the subject. Jax had his own reality television show Missing in Alaska on the History Network. He also is a father from children to teens. He understands the parenting stages and has seen the good and bad of sharing publicly through his cliental.
We would like to thank Jax Menez Atwell for his expertise. We would also like to thank Ricoh Danielson who is one of the countries leading Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigator for his wisdom and insight.
JAX MENEZ ATWELL ON SHARENTING
The Baby-Spot asked me about my opinion on “Sharenting”? Easiest answer? You can almost guarantee a split decision on what people think should be public and what should not be public. Blended families on TV probably give us the best front court view of this.
WHO IS IN THE RIGHT?
Who is right? Initially, I saw two types of people. Those who want to argue about anything and those who stick their head in the sand. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong. To be really confusing, there’s not even sides to this argument. It’s honestly just a big pile tangled up yarn and really can get a parent confused on what stance to take.
THE BLENDED BUNCH
Initially, my opinion after hearing the quandary on “The Blended Bunch”, was that some people just need to be quiet and change the channel if they don’t want to see something. Then my inner voice said, “sure but how often did you have your children on social media or any of your production items?” The answer was little to none.
Sitting at a split decision wasn’t comfortable. Truth is I wanted the sweet moment that warmed the heart to be okay. Deep down I knew that wasn’t our reality but victimization, crimes, stalkers, ID fraud, and much worse are the realities here
The bottom line is 1950 is never coming back. Those Polaroid picks of you and your siblings running around the yard with little to know clothes on are gone. The “compromising” photo, video, or anything else public is where this all changes. Twenty, thirty, forty years ago those were fun family photos and memories but in today’s world that innocent compromise could be a living nightmare.
RICOH DANIELSON DIGITAL FORENSICS EXPERT ON SHARENTING
I wanted to ask someone with expertise beyond mine in regard to “sharenting”. It was a nice treat to get one of the country’s best Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigator to lend me his opinion:
“From a Digital Forensics perspective this opens many doors with regards to privacy, cyber privacy, digital evidence sharing and consent parameters. Let alone that this can be misconstrued as “guided Parenting and Parenting with malicious intent “. In any case, there needs to be some level to thought applied here to ensure these provided examples of law are respected and upheld” (Ricoh Danielson- Digital Forensics Expert).
ASKING PARENTS THEIR OPINION ON SHARENTING
I asked several parents at my son’s school. I was astonished to hear most of the parents say, “we can’t worry about that stuff, I want to enjoy my children”. Other justifications saying, “online is the only way my family get to see my children”. When I did come across a parent who staunchly was against this “Sharenting” concept it was that parent had been affected either with something themselves or with their children. They had a direct horror story that changed their lives forever.
The last thing we want is to learn lessons on this topic the hard way. The bitter taste in their mouth or holding back tears from trauma is NOT the way we want to learn about the consequences of not being careful.
SOUND ADVICE ON SHARENTING
Years ago, I had met an elderly man in television production. He offered a piece of advice, “If you take one thing let it be this, when it comes to your children and your public limelight treat your children like your saving their futures for ult-covert occupations like being a spy, the CIA…” after a long pause he pointedly said, “you understand?” As he walked away, I pondered the long pause and the accentuation in my understanding. Within minutes I was pulling photos o of social media.
HOW TO DECIDE HOW MUCH SHARENTING IS TOO MUCH
Your main job overview is to create good little humans that transition into good adults. If the prime objective can be shattered before that due to loss of innocence or exposure that follows them into adulthood, haven’t we failed? Be cognizant of the gross manipulation in our society. Nothing digital is sacred. Consider everything you put online to be public.
While I don’t feel being “appalled” at the Blended Bunch’s scene we are breaking down is necessary. I, also, don’t believe in bashing or tearing down those who believe “sharenting” is okay. Ultimately, you only answer for you and for who you’ve been blessed to rear.
SHARENTING: BEING HONEST ABOUT THE BAD AND THE GOOD
What do you do? Each situation can be different so make sure you don’t miss opportunities due to overthinking. Simply ask yourself what are the negatives to what I’m about to do. You have to be honest though for this to work, which means understanding there are thieves, fraudsters, child molesters, pedophiles, stalkers everywhere.
Secure your networks…understand that if you store something on a computer or any on-line device it is available for the taking. Go old school and keep ALL data on zip drives and exterior hard drives. Beware of trusting your “private” settings, your best bet is to consider anything online “public”.
Speaking to the father’s here, we have to take two things into consideration. As the family protector you need to guide your family in this area. It’s time to step up. In the same vein, you need to protect yourself. What’s a funny situation now could be a dark moment in court down the road? This is unfortunate but a true reality.