The Problem With Sharenting
I just learned the word “sharenting.” It’s a portmanteau created to shame parents who post pictures of their children online.
(screenshot because WashPo seems to have pulled the article offline)
I don’t post pictures of my kids online, and even I think the term “throwing their kids to the wolves” is overkill. What wolves? Does WashPo mean the other kids in school? Does anyone really believe that those kids would be little puppies if we didn’t throw them these meaty morsels which turn them into wolves? Last I checked, bullying existed before parents started posting about their kids online.
Here’s my problem with the term and why I don’t think it’s cute or funny. The term only exists under the heading of parenting. What about the other abuses of privacy — from writing about your dates (which is an invasion of another person’s privacy) or your partner (once again, invasion of privacy) or your parents (yes, again, an invasion of privacy). Bitching about your sibling online, complaining about your boss online, writing snarky commentary about your neighbours or classmates: these are all invasions of privacy and examples of oversharing.
But they’re not judged like parents who post pictures of their kids online.
I have no problem discussing over-sharing if we’re going to apply the questions asked by WashPo to all people and situations: where does one person’s story end and another person’s privacy begin?
The Internet is a sea of images and statements that people wish their friends and family (or strangers or enemies) hadn’t posted starting with the stories about something really funny that happened to us (that makes another person look foolish) to snapping photos of unsuspecting people or stealing images and turning them into a meme. There are so many cases of things that are definitely damaging vs. potentially damaging such as children turning around and being upset that their childhood was documented online. Let’s focus on getting rid of the definitely damaging cases before we start focusing on the potentially damaging ones.
In all cases, before you post something potentially upsetting to someone else online, ask. And if you can’t ask, you probably shouldn’t post.
But let’s not pretend this problem only exists amongst parents. Let’s all be a little circumspect before posting online.
And while you’re being circumspect, remember that tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday and get writing.