While more and more parents are sharing their children’s lives on social media, a new study reports that kids don’t want to be all over their parents’ Facebook feeds. The New York Times is reporting on research from the Universities of Washington and Michigan in which 249 parent-child pairs, distributed across 40 states, were examined. “There was one surprising rule that the children wanted that their parents mentioned far less often: Don’t post anything about me on social media without asking me,” the study found. “While children ages 10 to 17 were really concerned about the ways parents shared their children’s lives online, their parents were far less worried.”
A parent might think that they are posting a funny video of their 10-year-old son, but how do they know that the video won’t come back to haunt the kid when he is in junior high? Although the first babies of the Facebook age are not yet in their teens, sooner or later these kids will become teenagers and adults who want control of their digital identities.
According to Stacey Steinberg, the associate director of the Center on Children and Families at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, “We’re going to have to find ways to balance a parent’s right to share their story and a parent’s right to control the upbringing of their child with a child’s right to privacy.” Parents also need to be more aware of what they are sharing. “Parents often intrude on a child’s digital identity, not because they are malicious,” says Steinberg, “but because they haven’t considered the potential reach and the longevity of the digital information that they’re sharing.” The article recommends that parents and kids have a sincere discussion to figure out what sort of things are okay to post.
Instead of documenting your child’s life online, document it in with real life with a modern Polaroid camera.
What do you think is appropriate for a parent to share about their child on social media?