I was reading an article in the University of Florida Law Review which coined new word: “sharenting”. The article described a new phenomenon in which parents post online all sorts of details about the lives of their children. The point of the article, amongst other things, was that such posts destroy the privacy of the child. Can you imagine, for example, the horror of a high school student when someone finds a post, dealing with his or her bedwetting problems?
This is something that families increasingly have to deal with, as we’ve previously discussed, and is something that should cause parents to take some serious pause.
The Internet is Forever
These posts are innocent enough. Sometimes parents are posting in frustration, and are looking for support. Some posts are deemed to be “cute”, and perhaps they are, at least at the time
But these posts do not go away. They are not telephone calls. They are stored by someone, somewhere.
It seems to me that when a parent posts details about the children, they are really entrusting the private lives of the children to third parties. They are putting information out “there” without appreciating where “there” may end up. And at what time. And under what circumstances.
I am not talking about child exploitation. Most people, thankfully, are careful enough. But I am talking about the propriety of sharing information with others. And I am going to say it: these posts are designed to attract attention for the [immediate] satisfaction of the parents. And the parents are not being ill-willed. But I think they are being horribly short-sighted.
So, I think that parents need to be reminded that social media posts are not private, not restricted to family and or no replacement for the “family album.”
Which brings me to my second topic; namely, the appropriateness of sharing opinions about the other parent online. The same problem persists. It goes out there, and it can be reproduced at any time.
And perhaps seen by the children.
Again, the posting eliminates control.
Think Before You Post
So what is a parent to do? Never go on Facebook? Never mention their children. Of course not. But I do think caution should prevail. My suggestion is decidedly low-tech. Every parent should have a Post-it note on the screen of their device every time they go on social media. And the Post-it note should read: “Is it okay for my children to see this at any point in their lives?” If the answer is “yes”, then post away. If “no”, then other forms of communication should be considered.
If you would like to discuss managing challenging family dynamics within the context of family law, contact experienced Windsor family lawyer Jason P. Howie at 519-800-1039 or online. Jason has been a fixture of the family law community of Windsor and Essex County for over 25 years, and has helped hundreds of clients.