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Michigan Study on “Sharenting” Reveals Pros, Cons

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Even if you’ve never heard the word before, you probably know what “sharenting” is.  A combination of “share” and “parenting,” it refers to parents’ propensity to post stuff about their children online, particularly in social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.  It’s a trend that seems to have grown exponentially in the last few years, leading to some concerns about “oversharenting” and whether the risks outweigh any benefits.

University of Michigan Children’s Hospital Poll

U of M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital recently conducted a poll looking into the phenomenon.  The purpose of the study was not only to determine how prevalent the practice is, but also to look into whether parents go too far.  While many parents use social media to share and learn tips and tricks of parenting, there is growing concern that too much private information is being divulged.

Drawbacks and Safety Concerns

One worry is that sharing too much information about a child can put him or her at risk of “digital kidnapping.”  Worse yet, oversharing could lead to cyberbullying or physical harm.  Another concern is that an online identity is being established for children who will eventually have to grow up and be saddled with a digital history they did not create.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help parents stay in touch and learn important and helpful information.  Unfortunately, there is also risk involved if care isn’t taken to protect a child’s identity.