the ethics of ‘sharenting’

Nione Meakin’s recent May 18  2013 article in The Guardian ( raises important questions about the long term effects on the children of parents who engage in ‘sharenting’, that is, posting embarrassing photos or stories about their children on Facebook. While she does ponder the psychological effects on children who are the subject of their parent’s blogs, her main objection is the number of baby photos that appear on Facebook.

I feel that Meakin missed an opportunity to raise issues related to parents exposing or invading their children’s privacy. Rather than speak about the fear one mom has of ‘coming across as mumsy and unprofessional’ I would have liked to have seen Meakin delve into the concern the same mother had about compromising her child’s safety.

Of less concern to Meakin is crossing the privacy boundary that many sharenting bloggers do when they expose details about their children’s lives that are private, embarrassing or potentially damaging digital footprints that can never be erased. Like psychologist Aric Sigman, I think we need to be aware of the ways in which social media negatively interferes with the process of identity formation, which involves having private information about one’s self remain private.

Unfortunately, the issue of who is telling whose story continues to be overlooked in this article.