Navigating social media as a parent in the digital age is a moving target. New terms are even being coined for the process, such as the term “sharenting,” which is “used to describe the overuse of social media by parents to share content based on their children.” The rules of the game change on an almost daily basis, and it’s difficult to foresee how today’s actions might impact your family’s future, either in the short- or long-term. The best strategy is to think carefully about what your “social media philosophy” is as a parent, and establish some guidelines for yourself, however casually, to follow in your daily life. So, how do parents decide what kind of information to share on social media? For many, it’s an impulse. We’re just as likely to post our lunch to Instagram as we are to share our daughters’ spelling bee triumph on Facebook. So, how do you determine what is appropriate to share, what should be kept private, and what is a downright no-no as far as granting public access to your kids’ lives?

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Some parents make a point to put their smartphones away when their kids are around, for a variety of reasons. In part, they want their children to understand that it is possible to function as a human being without being attached to an internet-connected device — and many parents find that using a smartphone or tablet often gets in the way of their interactions with their own children.

Case in point? Newborns. Everyone loves a tender fresh squish, still gleaming from afterbirth, right? Well, apparently not. Yet, many new parents find strength and validation in sharing their oh-so-soon post-delivery photos, which often capture the complete joy and amazement on the parents’ faces (especially those beautiful birthing mamas) in the moments after birth. How do the people in their social networks feel, though, about catching a glimpse of such an intimate moment over their lunch break?

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In terms of how your use of social media can impact your kids, it can be tricky to decide how to behave. A large part of your decisions may be based on who you’ve elected to be part of your social network. That is, if your Facebook friends list is entirely composed of doting grandparents, aunts, and uncles, then they might be more interested in hearing about the new foods your kid tried today or the epic saga of preschool waitlists than the rest of your ‘friends’ might. If you only want to share with family, you might want to think about signing up for a site specifically designed for that purpose. Considering your audience is always a good step in determining what to share on social media.

Parents have three more core questions to ask themselves to help shape their philosophy when it comes to sharing information about their kids online:

1. How will this make my kids/spouse feel?
2. Would I ‘like’ this post if another parent shared something similar?
3. Is it important to me to share this (piece of information/event/detail)?

Hopefully, asking yourself these questions will help you frame your personal philosophy when it comes to sharing parenting information on social media. In this age, it’s worth a sit-down conversation with your spouse or co-parent to ensure you’re both on the same page, especially as children get older and more serious privacy concerns arise. The most important consideration, as with all parenting decisions, is that you’re completely comfortable with all aspects of your decision. Where social media is concerned, it may take a little extra time to develop some “rules” by which you and your spouse can operate, but it’ll make a world of difference where your children are concerned. And keep in mind that once your news or photographs are out there, it may be impossible to ever regain privacy in those realms.


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