OMG, Mom! Think Before You Embarrass Your Kids on Social Media
Video of your daughter's dance recital or an old preschool photo of your son may be too cute not to share. But would your child want it on social media?
In a new study examining parents' and kids' views on technology, child participants said they feel frustrated when their parents "contribute to their online presence" without permission.
The study, out of the University of Washington, reports that children aged 10 to 17 can find this content embarrassing — a product of oversharing by their parents.
And any image a teenager or tween is trying to cultivate online is being undermined by the common parent practice of sharing information about their children on sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Rutgers University sociology professor Deborah Carr says she can understand why kids are hesitant about what their parents post online. The teen and tween years, she says, are a hard time for many young folks.
"A parent might think it's adorable to show a photo of their now-teenager as a 4-year-old in the bathtub, but if that teenager is already insecure, a naked picture or a dance recital picture isn't going to increase the kid's street cred, nor is it going to increase their sense of self confidence if they feel they're going to be made fun of by their peers," Carr told New Jersey 101.5.
But the study isn't telling parents to keep their kids' faces or anecdotes offline completely. Children would just like a say in the matter.
"Children were twice as likely to report that adults should not 'overshare' by posting information about children online without permission," the study's authors write.
Carr noted parents are not trying to be malicious when posting a goofy photo or story about their child; it comes from a loving place. But it may be good manners to check with your child before the post is in cyberspace forever.
"Parents need to remember what it was like to be an insecure 13- or 14-year-old before posting these images," she said.