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Sharenting: The pressure to post often and post positive

FILE- In this Aug. 21, 2018, file photo a Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

How many photos of you do you think are out there on the internet?

Is it 100, 200?

What about your kids?

The Problem With ‘Sharenting’

According to a study from the British Research firm Nominet, the average parent has posted 1,500 photos of their children by the time they turn 5 years old.

That’s something Nominent says can be an issue, because “the majority of parents [lack] basic knowledge on how to keep their photos private, [and] nearly a quarter of parents (24%) [failed] to answer questions on where to find and amend privacy settings online.”

Where is this pressure coming from?

“Do you feel better when you’re being vulnerable and posting about parenting? Does that help you?” asked Scott Mitchell on Thursday’s Dave and Dujanovic show.

Lindsey Aerts, Scott’s co-host while they’re filling in for Dave and Debbie, says no.

“I struggle with it!” she says.

“It gives me anxiety. I sit at home and think that I should be posting something to relate with my audience right now because I want to grow my following and I want people to listen to The Mom Show.”

Along with the anxiety that comes with feeling the need to post Aerts says that there’s also a fear of what others will think about her parenting.

“I struggle with thoughts of what are people going to think of me or am I coming off this way and frankly I can’t sit around just wondering what people think of me, I don’t have that brain space to waste!”

How many is too many?

Stacey Steinberg, a scholar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, says that  The Emory Law Review that sharing may be cathartic at times but when parents start posting photos of their children it comes at odds with that child’s right to privacy.

“Through sharenting, or online sharing about parenting, parents now shape their children’s digital identity long before these young people open their first e-mail,” Steinberg says.

Steinberg says this desire to share along with being responsible for a child’s upbringing can become a conflict of interest that can lead children to “resent the disclosures made years earlier by their parents.”

Education reporter Anya Kamenetz sums up in her New York Times Opinion article The Problem With ‘Sharenting’  how this could potentially play out.

“This is especially true when the information is potentially damaging. Imagine a child who has behavior problems, learning disabilities or chronic illness. Mom or Dad understandably want to discuss these struggles and reach out for support,” Kamenetz writes.

“But those posts live on the internet, with potential to be discovered by college admissions officers and future employers, friends and romantic prospects. A child’s life story is written for him before he has a chance to tell it himself,” Kamenetz adds.

Even if you’re just posting happy photos from birthday parties or other accomplishments, Kamenetz says that data brokers use that information to sell to advertisers. Another problem she brings up is what could happen if those photos or information get in the hands of an online predator.

How to stay safe

There can be a lot of good that can be gained on social media too though. It’s a great way to be able and share important moments and struggles with close friends and families.

“For me, there’s some sense of healing for me to be vulnerable and to find that I’m not alone, which is why we feel like we need to share.” Scott says.

“[But] maybe we shouldn’t use our children as that vulnerability though,” he says.

The Child Rescue Coalition curated a list of 100 hashtags for ABC that might seem innocent but can be searched by predators.

The CRC recommends that parents ask themselves the following questions before posting an image of their child:

1. Why am I sharing this?

2. Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?

3. Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?

4. Is this something I want to be part of my child’s digital life?

You can hear the full conversation that Scott and Lindsey had on the Dave and Dujanovic show below.