A new study has revealed that constantly sharing updates about your children on social media can put both their privacy and safety at risk. Creating social media handles for a newborn, and updating each and every information about them is in trend these days. From the former Indian Cricket Team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s daughter Ziva to any of our close relatives, we all might know someone who keeps on updating the world about their children through a social media handle. However, no matter how glorious it appears, social media profiles and constant updates on children might actually be infringing their privacy.

Sharenting- Sharing Updates While Parenting 

A study by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, USA, which combines sharing and parenting to give a new term called Sharenting, says that constant updates about children on social media might put their privacy, and ultimately, their safety at risk. The researchers Mariea Grubbs Hoy and Alexa K. Fox inferred from their study that, “Women’s feelings of vulnerability about being a mother are linked to their posting on social media — and those posts sometimes include their children’s personally identifiable information, such as names, birthdates, and photographs.”

“Today’s parents, many of whom grew up sharing their own lives on social media, may not comprehend the full impact and potential consequences of posting such information about their children,” the researchers said.

Also Read: Why Are Parents So Afraid Of Raising Imperfect Kids?

Mind those privacy settings

A lot of parents who share photos and information about the kids on digital platforms do not pay attention to the privacy settings of their kids’ social media accounts. Under such circumstances, it becomes easy for others to gain information about the kids. This information is always vulnerable to be used in unwelcome ways.

The research comprised of a study of first-time mothers between the ages of 24 and 40, reports Eastern Mirror. They were asked questions relating to motherhood, reasons for posting online content about their children and whether they understood information co-ownership and privacy rules.

The participants revealed that their “changing body, a changing view of self, new responsibilities associated with motherhood, demands of nursing, exhaustion, and issues such as postpartum depression or anxiety,” which contributed to their feelings of vulnerability.

“Posting about their experiences and sharing personal information about themselves and their children served as a coping strategy, primarily related to seeking affirmation/social support or relief from parents’ stress/anxiety/depression,” the researchers wrote. “Every mother mentioned posting milestones ranging from the infant reaching the ‘month birthdays’ to children’s firsts and other ‘cute’ moments. They then waited, at times eagerly, for affirmation in the form of likes or comments.”

Posting about their experiences and sharing personal information about themselves and their children served as a coping strategy, primarily related to seeking affirmation/social support or relief from parents’ stress/anxiety/depression. – Research

Need For Enhanced Governmental Guidance

While we live in a world where most of us are social media literate, the complete understanding of privacy issues lags behind. Though social media sites have tried their best to save our content from being used without our consent, there are people who do not know about these settings and end up sharing the updates publicly. For example, Instagram allows people to share their content in a private account and choose their audience. But how many parents who create an account for their children or load their photographs on the platform, are actually aware of this? The research suggests that the government should intervene in sharenting issues and roll out proper rules to ensure children’s safety.

Image Credit: The Independent

Read More: Safety is smartness: Data protection starts with you

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