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Sharenting: Dear Parents, Are You Guilty Of Oversharing Pictures Of Your Kids On Social Media?

According to a recent report published in Forbes, on an average, by the most conservative estimates, a parent posts approximately 1,300 images of their child by the time the kid turns 13

If there’s anything parents like to do, it’s talk about their children and show pictures and videos of them. It’s normal right? Who doesn’t like to celebrate the bond of love? But what happens when such information is shared with not just the family members but with the rest of the world on a regular basis? Do the children involved have a right to their privacy?
This phenomena has come to be known as sharenting when parents overshare pictures and videos of their kids on social media creating an indelible trail of digital bread crumbs. “It is a habitual publicity of the children and of late it has become an obsession,” says Aditi Sinha, a Pune-based clinical psychotherapist. Gargi Vishnoi, a Delhi-based counselling psychologist says that sharenting involves sharing information of a child- where the child is going, in which school he/she is studying, where are they participating, the friends that they have, etc.
According to a recent report published in Forbes, on an average, by the most conservative estimates, a parent posts approximately 1,300 images of their child by the time the kid turns 13.
Sinha believes that oversharing child’s pictures and videos has resulted from an obsession wherein “every recorded piece has to be shared on the social media”. Sinha feels that the basic idea of every parent nowadays is to show their child to the world. “While doing so, they do not care about their dignity,” Sinha adds.
Beyond the likes, shares and views, there’s more to why parents choose to overshare. While Vishnoi feels that sense of validation, sense of achievement and sense of self plays a huge role, Sinha believes that feeling of missing out (FOMO) and a sense of pride is the reason for oversharing.
Recently, the Assam Police department came up with a cybersafety campaign to spread awareness about the dangers of oversharing information about children by their parents online which could have serious safety and security implications for the kids. Leaving crimes aside, there are other serious consequences that sharenting could have on children.
“Parents are leaving digital footprints of their children which can cause cyberbullying, online grooming, identity fraud,” says Harmeet Singh, Commissioner of Assam Police. Moreover, Kamna Chhibber, a clinical psychologist and Head – Mental Health at Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare feels that every action that the child is engaging in can shape their behavior for the rest of their lives. “It can impact their confidence, their sense of worth, their self esteem and the ways they would engage with other people around them,” Chhibber adds.
Research has found out that 76% of Indian parents have considered the risks of posting their children’s pictures, but ignored their own concerns. According to a study by Barclays, by 2030 ‘Sharenting’ could result in almost £670 million in cyber frauds. So what can be done to make parents more aware?
Vishnoi says that a counsellor could be present along with a gynaecologist at the time of childbirth to talk to the parents about what psychological implications sharenting can have on the child. According to Singh, there is an extensive cyber security mechanism across the country. If a child experiences online fraud or online bullying, he or she can file a report at the MHA Cyber Crime Portal.
But the question remains, why put your child in such a situation?

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