How the Rise of Social Media has Affected Parenting

It's likely that somewhere on your Facebook News Feed, a friend or family member will post a photo or status about their child; a cute selfie, a funny story, a video of their 5-year-old picking their nose etc. etc.

Social media and the ease of sharing has affected how people parent; with the addition of smartphones and social media platforms at our fingertips, it's a lot different to when such things didn't exist or weren't so accessible.


Welcome to the age of 'oversharenting'.

'Oversharenting' is simply parents oversharing on social media. While a Mum may be proud of their offspring successfully being potty-trained, her Facebook friends may not be so happy to see photo-evidence - cringe. The occasional update which may be of interest to all may be nice to read on a Facebook status, especially for closer family members and friends, however sometimes photo albums of almost-identical photos of a child you barely know can become annoying.

In a survey from Parents of over 2,000 social media-using respondents, 79% said they believe other parents overshare on social media, however only 32% believe they overshare themselves. It does differ between what people define as 'oversharing' however, as the survey also revealed that 65% of respondents think posting a photo of a child in their underwear is not okay, which leaves 35% thinking it's fine.


While parents love to share a picture or video of their kid to make their friends comment "LOL! So cute!☺", it can bring up the concern for child and questions about whether they wanted that to be posted online. Some will see it as looking too far into it and being overly-sensitive, but  in a few years time, when they're reminded of the video of them *ahem* 'passing wind' (to put it nicely) as a 2 year won't go down well when it's shared on their 13th birthday post from their friends teasing them about it.

It's kind of the same thing with group photos as adults; a group photo of girls in a university flat, ready to go out for a night out. Perhaps someone isn't keen on their facial expression or stance in one posted, so they'll ask for another where everyone's smiling to be posted instead. Photo consent is important as some may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with a photo being posted to a mass of friends or followers.

YouTube portrays the potential issue of consent perfectly, with YouTubers shoving their vlogging camera in their child's face for what it seems like the entirety of their day. Many YouTubers include a lot of detail about their personal life, including pregnancy announcements and parenting progress, with some new parents moving their channel focus to parenting after having a child. Cute kids get lots of views, and a lot of these channels have huge followings.


Social media is incredibly popular with the kids of today, with the age to have a Facebook account at 13 and many even younger with access to the Internet. Social media and the internet can be beneficial for children, with news outlets, games and apps available to keep kids entertained for hours.

However many oppose the use of mobile devices and computers during early childhood, and believe in a good old book as a learning and entertainment resource, as the internet has a shocking amount of dangerous, inappropriate content, as well as exposure to cyber bullying.

Whether a parent allows their child to use social media at a young age is of course, down to the individual, and there are ways to protect children from the dangers of the world wide web. With research and advanced technologies, restrictions and ways to supervise are available for parents to protect their kids from bad content.

The Benefits of Social Media for Parents

While 'oversharenting' can be a a problem according to the results of the survey, the rise of social media has brought good to the world of parenting.

A lot of social media parenting revolves around low-key competition, with boasting and often people trying to out-do each other with their children's achievements etc.

Away from the strange competitiveness that may be present among Facebook Mums, social media has brought a community, with forums to answer any questions parents have want to ask, either for curiosity or reassurance.

These communities could stem from forums or groups, in where local baby classes/school events may be discussed or organised and friends may be made and support and advice may be given. A friendly community to share experiences and advice in parenting can be useful and reassuring, as where before social media was a thing, discussion, connections and advice were less at-reach.

Sharing happy news and milestones with friends can be nice but there is always that risk of someone thinking it's 'not okay' or excessive. Social media platforms are for sharing and most friends and family will be interested to see the set of photos from your day at the park, it's just the ones where consent or inappropriateness may be shared without a thought which may raise a few eyebrows.

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