Spoiler alert, we like Gwyneth Paltrow. By all accounts, she and her daughter, Apple, have a wonderful relationship – and it is so nice to see. But earlier this week one of Gwyneth’s posts of a picture of her and Apple skiing made headlines because Apple reminded her she’s not supposed to post photos of her without her permission. The photo is still up so we assume the dust has settled and all is well and good. This incident, however, did get us thinking about the phenomena called, “sharenting”.
Sharenting is when a parent regularly uses social media to share a lot of detailed information about their child with others. It is a growing concern and studies are being done on it. A couple of years ago, France even passed a law letting children sue their parents for breaching their right to privacy in this way.
Many children are discovering their digital footprint has already been created by others before they even get online themselves. Usually, the “others” refers to loved ones who simply want to share the joy, fun and humor they feel about parenting and their child. That is all well and good but it’s important to remember that because of technology that child is forced to live with that digital footprint for the rest of their lives – once something hits the Internet is can never truly go away. And many don’t like it.
Privacy should still matter in the digital age. Parents should talk to their children about what they post when it involves them. One should be extremely cautious about posting sensitive information – health-related, location-related or information otherwise potentially embarrassing to the child. The parent may not think something is embarrassing (“oh, but you look so cute”) but it’s the child’s point of view that should matter most.
It is marvelously well-mannered to ask anyone – children included – their permission before posting a photo of them or sharing a story that easily identifies them. And if they decline to give permission, don’t post it anyway. It's disrespectful. It's rude. It's mean. We should want to encourage our children to develop the ability to speak-up and advocate for themselves. It can be so hard to do, so please don’t send the wrong message by dismissing their efforts when they try.
Generally, our advice is to ask before posting anythingis – is it true, is it kind and is it necessary? And, is it your story or photo to share?
Have a marvelous week – Catherine & Jessica