How Do Parents' Social Media Presence Affect Their Kids?
November 9, 2023
by jack shaw
It's fair to say that nearly everyone is hooked on social media. As a parent, have you ever considered how your social media presence — the photos, videos and comments you post online — can impact your children? Learn the pros and cons of social media, and how to do it right for your child’s safety.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Parent’s Social Media Presence for Their Kids?
Not everything about posting stories and pictures online is bad. However, there are some aspects you need to be careful about.
Parents use social media for many reasons. Aside from posting beautiful family photos, they also go online to seek health information about what other parents have gone through and find support.
Moreover, posting photos online helps distant family members and friends get an update about your family’s life. Isn’t it exciting when people get to witness your kids grow as they scroll through your feed?
Have you heard of the term “sharenting”? This phenomenon refers to when parents put information about their children online. Those who find themselves posting too frequently might find themselves in the "oversharenting" realm, which could have risky implications. Sharing updates about your kid can be exciting, but unfortunately, it may also bring certain dangers. Sometimes, you could unintentionally expose your kid to threats like identity theft or online child predators.
As a parent, you might share funny stories about your kid because you want others to share a good laugh with you. You mean well, but they might feel uncomfortable with you sharing embarrassing information about them, including details about their personal lives. Any content posted online can be all too easily used for cyberbullying, where children can be targeted by harassment or humiliation. It’s critical to be careful with what you post and enable discussions on how your activity affects them.
How Can I Know if My Social Media Presence Is Affecting My Child?
In today’s connected era, it’s essential to be more aware of how you use your social media accounts, the content you upload and how much time you spend in front of your screen. Ask yourself these questions and think about how social media posts could impact your children, as well as what you can do to make things better.
1. What Am I Using Social Media For?
Are you using social media to stay updated on the latest news updates or are you using it as a place to air out your frustrations about your kid?
What you can do: Take time to assess your social media use. Be mindful of uploading photos of your kid or posting unnecessary comments.
2. How Often Do I Use Social Media?
Think about how many times you open your phone in an hour. Do you watch videos while having dinner? Do you often find yourself doom-scrolling on Instagram? If your phone distracts you quickly, your kids might notice.
What you can do: Lead by example. If you want your child to put their phone away during family bonding moments, make sure to do the same.
3. Do I Spend Too Much Time Capturing a Moment Rather Than Enjoying it?
Do you frequently worry about capturing your kid or that beautiful scenery from the right angle? Taking photos and videos is a great way to immortalize beautiful memories, but you might forget about living in the present. After all, looking at the screen can prevent your kid from bonding with you.
What you can do: It’s only natural to take a few snaps to remember the amazing moments you’ve had with your family. Choosing what photos to take more deliberately helps you manage living in and capturing the perfect moment.
4. What Kind of Photos and Videos am I Sharing?
Do a quick scroll on your feed. Did you see a photo from the first day of school? It may seem harmless initially, but if your child is in uniform, people might know what school they attend.
What you can do: Geotagging from the places you frequently visit — such as home, school or even your recent winter trip — is not recommended, as it can provide insights into your child’s whereabouts to others.
5. Am I Comfortable if My Child Sees My Social Media Feed?
Would you be comfortable allowing your child (at any age) to scroll through your social media feed? Is there anything that may cause them embarrassment as they grow up?
What you can do: Consider asking kids for consent before posting. This way, you show respect and demonstrate the importance of getting approval before posting another person’s image.
Think Before You Post
Social media has its benefits and downsides. With these guide questions and tips, you can ensure you and your child are safer from the dangers of social media.
Social Media and Teens
Teens have had a large chunk (if not ALL) of their lives influenced by social media. They won’t remember, or may not even know what it was like to leave the house and not be able to be reached by a Snapchat message or DM. This is their norm. Here are 4 things I’ve considered and felt challenged to parent about this social media candy: