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What is Sharenting?

The dangers of posting your children’s information on social media


How much of your children’s lives do you share on Facebook and Instagram?

Sharing our lives with friends and family through social media has become ingrained in our daily routines. The desire to share information, the feeling of closeness, and the need to remain socially relevant have given rise to a new parenting buzzword: “sharenting”.

Sharenting is defined as a parent’s overuse of social media to share content about their children. While it seems harmless to post one or two photos of your kids on social media, such public displays of personal information has the potential to put your kids at risk of fraud and future psychological issues.

...over the next decade, 7.4 million cases of identity fraud with an annual price tag of £667 million will occur as a result of sharenting.

— Barclays, 2018

Identity theft

Established as a term used to describe how parents have become accustomed to oversharing pictures of their children, sharenting has been widely viewed as the implicit creation of a database primed for identity theft. 

Even if your child doesn’t have a Facebook or an Instagram account, their online presence may be more prevalent than you think. Sharing intimate information such as birthdays, milestones, and other sensitive data can increase the likelihood of them falling victim to online fraudsters. 

In fact, Barclays has forecasted that over the next decade, 7.4 million cases of identity fraud with an annual price tag of £667 million will occur as a result of sharenting.


Developmental Harm

The psychological impact of sharenting on a child definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. In an article written by the Commissioner for Children & Young People, sharenting can trigger self-esteem issues within kids.

If a child tends to believe that their self-worth is measured by the amount of likes and comments they receive on a post, they will face a lot of stress trying to always appear perfect. This can be intensified when parents post pictures of their children without their prior knowledge.

Psychological issues also arise when the child finds out about the breach of trust. When such a breach occurs, children can become more self-conscious of their appearance as a response to being hurt emotionally.

This amount of stress at a young age can cause even more psychological problems. Findings from researchers published by JAMA Pediatrics indicated that teenagers are the most likely demographic to fall victim to depression. By making relative comparisons to other social media accounts, teenagers tend to form an unrealistic standard of how their life should be portrayed.

In an attempt to mitigate any potential adverse effects, parents are encouraged to review their privacy settings within social media platforms in order to determine and modify what information is being made available publicly about their children.

Additionally, parents should limit the amount of posts featuring their children in an attempt to reduce the amount of information available for fraudsters.


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