Are You Guilty of Oversharenting?
Influencers are struggling to be vulnerable with their audience while maintaining their children’s privacy.
Influencers are expected to share their lives with their followers. Being open and maintaining authenticity is what makes influencers successful as their audience begins to trust, care for, and support the influencer’s efforts. When an influencer has a child, it can be a challenge to keep them free from the feed. One’s children are a huge part of their life, their day to day activities, and their identity; funneling that away from one’s social presence can feel like cutting off a limb. Unfortunately, for the safety and privacy of children, it’s becoming more necessary.
Numerous articles over the years have mentioned the word “oversharenting”, when a parent shares too much information about or related to their child on social media, with more than the occasional attempt backfiring on the parent. As technology and social media sites become increasingly prevalent in the way we connect and communicate with others, how can influencers balance building relationships while protecting their children’s privacy? After all, influencers are making the conscious decision to hand over the looking glass into their lives -their children have not likely been given that option. There are steps influencers can take to avoid oversharenting, but the first step is admitting you have the problem in the first place.
Use an Alias or Hide their Features
Some influencers go by a pseudonym to protect their privacy online and cover their digital footprints from those who might try to insert themselves in their lives with less than good intentions. It’s an excellent strategy for protecting your child’s identity as well. Use an initial or a nickname, even something as simple as “the boy” or “the girl” will allow you to share with your audience while still shielding your child.
Concerned their alias can still be tracked? Hide their features.
Whether it’s using sunglasses to hide their eyes or only showing a pair of boots, hiding features that make them fully recognizable is a great way to protect their privacy while sharing moments. We’ve seen an increase in the backs of babies heads on Instagram lately, and knowing that it means their parents are doing it in an effort to protect them, makes it a welcome view.
Involve Them In the Process
What you find adorable or funny may be highly embarrassing to your child when shared in on a public forum. There’s no avoiding it: eventually, kids will be exposed to social media as they grow older, they’ll be able to see those posts, as will their circle of friends. Navigating those waters can be a scary process — all of a sudden playground bully’s become online trolls who have access to them on multiple platforms at any time of the day or night. Influencers have an experiential understanding of what living your life in front of others can invite, both good and bad. Opening the conversation with their children early allows them to teach the importance of online safety while giving them some autonomy in their choices. Asking for their consent before posting about them and learning from their perspective gives them a foundation to stand on when they create their own profiles in the future. Respecting them now will also help them to respect others later.
Think Beyond the Moment and Double Check
This is a sensitive subject, and a harsh lesson to apply, but parents are responsible for safeguarding their children from those who would seek to do them harm. The tables could turn quickly — what’s originally posted with innocent intention could be used for something else entirely. Avoid posting what can be taken and sold to pornography sites, and double check to make sure no personal information or significant features of the neighborhood are shown clearly in the photo. Similar to writing, it’s good to set aside the photo you want to share for a few days and then come back another day with fresh eyes.
Set Aside a Specific Day for Social Media Posts
It’s not just children’s privacy that we need to be concerned about. What about their experience? It’s easy to get caught up in false moment making. Influencer’s and non-influencers alike are guilty of focusing their energy on taking the perfect photo to share with the rest of the world, positioning everyone correctly, framing the shot just right, filtering it to death so everyone looks their best. Before you know it, time passes, and what could have been a shared experience with the ones you care about is now just a fleeting photo shoot. Capturing moments is important to chronicle for the future, but continually staging moments can get exhausting for everyone involved. Setting aside a day or two for social media posts will give more opportunities for moments that can be enjoyed by everyone involved. Let your children stand how they want, with the facial expressions that come naturally to them. You’ll appreciate seeing their authentic self in the future more than your Stepford setup. On the non-social media days, leave your camera or your phone out of it.
There is no limit on the moments you can capture.
Which is why there are SO many photos of our families and our children on our feeds. It’s important and okay to capture those moments. Years from now having the image of your children playing in the sprinklers can bring you right back to that moment even if they’re currently yelling at one another in the living room. You can’t get those moments back, and it’s important to cherish them while you can. Just keep in mind that some moments are meant to be shared, others are meant to be remembered, and the majority are for you and your family alone. Any follower that truly cares about you as a person should be able to understand that your child’s safety, happiness, and well being come first.