Oversharenting: Are You Destroying Your Child’s Online Privacy?

online privacy

The University of Michigan Health System recently did polling to study an emerging trend dubbed “oversharenting.” It’s a label for the excessive sharing about children that goes on with parents on social media. Some of today’s biggest Twitter and YouTube stars are still in diapers—but their lives are on display to the world. Their online privacy is nonexistent.

The problem isn’t just that your adult peers may get worn out with the constant posting about every tantrum, every cute moment, every…single…thing. It’s that your children have no say in the digital identity that’s being created for them and that will follow them for the rest of their lives, like it or not. Theirs is the first generation to grow up in the glare of the digital age spotlight, and they haven’t even lived long enough for any of us to fully understand the ramifications of it all.

So where’s the line for you where your kids are concerned? Have you been guilty of sharing too much in the past? Learn how to avoid “oversharenting”, and give your children the online privacy they deserve.

Your Instagram and Facebook followers don’t love your child.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But it’s true. And the deepest desires of your child’s heart, their most tender questions, and their little kid challenges shouldn’t be entrusted to people who don’t love them. Guard those tender moments and keep a hedge of protection around your child.

It never goes away. Ever.

In ten years, when your child is out of college and looking for that first job, human resources at Company XYZ is going to Google him before you can blink. Would he choose to paperclip a childhood picture of his bare bottom to his job application? Probably not. But by posting it to Facebook years ago, you did that for him. Thanks, Mom.

Oversharenting leads to one of two pitfalls: exposing or posing. {Tweet This}

If you want to protect your child’s privacy and feelings, but insist on posting about him frequently, it will lead to a lot of whitewashing of your family’s life. You’ll essentially become a poser: Someone who projects that they and their family are pretty much perfect. It can cause a lot of envy and insecurity for those who digitally watch from afar. On the other extreme, if you insist on “keeping it real,” you’ll expose failures and flaws that your children would rather keep private. The answer? Less sharing on the whole.

Consider fine-tuning your permissions and settings.

Lots of moms I know say, “I post a lot about my children so their grandparents, aunts, and uncles out of town can feel a part of their lives.” And that’s a legitimate desire. But take the time to set up separate “friend groups” on Facebook or other social media platforms, and pick and choose which posts are best for the public and which can be seen by family only.

You can read more about the University of Michigan Health System study here.

Okay, tell us, when’s the last time you oversharented?


  • patricial

    While I agree that social media and smartphones have us over-sharing (myself included), I refuse to believe that in 10-15 years our kids’ future employers are going to google search them and opt not to hire them based on pictures of them as children and here’s why:
    1) By then, Google (and the way we access information ) will likely be a whole different animal.
    2) Search results start with relevancy. How relevant will a single snapshot be?
    3) Unless a kid is named Apple or North, there are many people who share the same name.

    Also, we think what we put online will be there forever, but how do we know that? We don’t have generations of internet use to back this thinking up so it’s really a best guess.

  • Curious

    Thank you so much for this information. I started realizing this 3 years ago and decided then to give up social media. While I haven’t missed it for a day I do wonder if there is a balance that I am missing. While my children are little I am enjoying this phase of my life where I don’t have to use social media. I know when they are old enough to use it I will have to use it also to see what they are posting, etc. On the other hand, so many people only communicate through social media now that I have lost touch with many old friends by not participating in social media. Would love to hear how others find a balance when social media just isn’t something you enjoy.

    • Lauren

      So eye opening! I have gone back and forth about keeping my Facebook account. Sometimes it’s such a distraction or a struggle.

      I see both sides and haven’t really been able to decide to get my self off entirely for many of the reasons you stated above. Praying for direction for both of us.

  • Crystal

    Agreed..it’s a refreshing to see an article from our shared perspective… We get flack as we share zero pictures of our gorgeous 6 month old online and don’t plan to….we got the choice to have an online presence and we feel its only fair to give her the same choice. No I don’t think an employer will not give them a job based on a baby pic, but I do believe kids are mean I do not wish to give her middle school bully ammunition. People are mean and can catfish using yours and your child’s pictures or create “funny” memes using your child’s image and call me crazy but Its just not right or fair to have no control over your image or online presence.