Two articles caught my eye recently. The first on the wonderful Mother Pukka blog about ‘Sharenting’ and the second, a tragic story about a ‘kid-shaming’ in which a thirteen-year old committed suicide after her dad used social media to shame her behaviour. Dark huh? But stick with me…I think we could all learn a lesson here.
In this day and age of socially acceptable addictions to social media, are we unknowingly crossing a line when it comes to our kids? I say ‘unknowingly’…I’m sure we’re all conscious to a certain extent that we shouldn’t share every last details of our child’s existence online, but perhaps, even just sharing anything is going too far?
The new trend of ‘sharenting’ discuss by Mother Pukka is an interesting one and while I’m not sharing the most intimate and banal moments of my Small’s life (poo colour, shape, vomit consistency) I am guilty of talking about her a lot online. Of course, as a blogger who’s a momma writing about being a momma, that has to come with the territory but I wonder: are we all guilty of oversharenting when it comes to the big, bad, online world?
In reality, we don’t really know what it’s going to mean for our Smalls ten, twenty years down the line when, instead of flipping through family albums that document their first steps, picnics in the park, naked bums on holiday, they will be readily available for all to see online. We don’t know what this will mean for their personal security, university applications, job prospects. If we’re throwing this info out there willy-nilly (hopefully not willies) to just sit static in cyber-space, are we inadvertently saying, “Hey, this is all fair game. Use this as you wish”?
Of course, the flip-side of this argument is that this is the way of the world. We are all doing it. There will barely be a child without a serious cyber footprint in the future and perhaps this is something that is just going to be the new norm…but right now, what is too much?
Kid-shaming is too much. The tragic story of 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana tells us this to be true. She jumped off an overpass in her hometown of Tacoma, WA just days after her father cut off her hair, took a video of her as he scolded her for some wrongdoing, and then shared the video on YouTube. Laxamana died in the hospital the next day. We don’t need to pour abuse and judgement over a father who is almost certainly abusing and judging himself enough, but it just goes to show, unless we make a conscious decision to draw a line, perhaps we won’t know we’ve gone too far until it’s too late.
I don’t have the answer to this. All I know is that the potential for problems is there and perhaps we need to have a little sit down with ourselves and decide where our individual lines are.
Where’s your line?