The rise of social media has transformed how we connect and share experiences. For parents, this often means capturing every giggle, gurgle, and graduation moment of their children's lives– from first steps to birthday parties – and posting them online. But in our eagerness to chronicle their every giggle and gurgle, are we unwittingly turning them into characters in a story we control, a story that might not even be theirs to tell?



Parents, intentionally and unintentionally, are turning their kids into digital commodities

This article has been drafted with the aim of highlight the rising trend of sharenting- and how parents, intentionally and unintentionally, turning their kids into digital commodities.


'Share­nting' muddles the parent's wish to share­ and the child's privacy right. Even seemingly harmless photos and videos can be misused online. In the United States alone, nearly three-fourth of parents share stories and posts of their kids on social media platforms. 

Sure, Sharenting allows parents to connect with loved ones who may live far away and build a sense of community with other parents. It can also be a way to preserve memories, creating a digital scrapbook that parents can look back on and reminisce about. But before hitting 'share,' it's crucial to weigh the potential downsides of sharenting.

The Rise of Sharenting:

The rise of sharenting is a recent phenomenon. The rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram created a new avenue for sharing experiences, including those of parenthood. The term sharenting, which is a combination of ‘share’ and ‘parenting’ was coined by the Wall Street Journal in the early 2010s to describe parents' excessive sharing of content about their kids on social media. 

In the mid-2010s, Sharenting became increasingly common. Parents found joy in connecting with others and celebrating milestones online. However, concerns about privacy and the potential dangers of oversharing began to surface.

Motivations of Sharenting:

Research suggests that parents primarily share for positive reasons, like connecting with friends and family (72% of respondents) and receiving social support (74%). Social media platforms create a sense of community, and sharenting allows parents to share milestones and experiences with loved ones, especially those who live far away.

Another motivation is the desire for social validation and affirmation. Furthermore, sharenting can also stem from a sense of pride and excitement. Parents may feel a sense of pride and excitement in their children's accomplishments and want to share these special moments with their social circle. Some parents just do it to make a digital scrapbook of their kids. These online memories can be cherished by parents and children alike for years to come.

Additionally, the digital era has made it easier for parents to connect with relatives by sharing children's moments online; which is also a way to keep loved ones updated on their child’s growth and experiences.

Moreover, the concept of "sharenting" is linked to social media’s influence in everyday life. With the prevalence of social platforms, parents feel compelled to participate in the online sharing culture. The pressure to construct a perfect image of family life creates a habitual practice of documenting and posting about one's children.

As parents engage in sharenting, it is essential to consider the potential impact on children's privacy and autonomy. 

The Risks of Sharenting:

Oversharing Opens Door to Identity Theft:

Sharing personal details like a child's full name, location, school, or their certificates can expose them to identity theft, cyber bullying, or even exploitation by predators. In 2019, a study was conducted by Barclays Bank, which highlighted that by 2030, over 66% of identity theft cases could be linked to information parents share about their children online.

This digital footprint is nearly impossible to erase completely and often times ends in a bad situation, just like a couple in Jersey in 2017, which faced legal trouble after their nanny used their social media posts containing their child's name, school, and daily routines to kidnap the child.

From Sharing to Validation:

The pressure to create a picture-perfect online persona and curate content for likes and comments can overshadow genuine moments. Studies by the Center for Cyber bullying Research highlight the negative impacts of social media on mental health, particularly among teenagers. The pressure to present a perfect online persona can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The Influencer Marketing:

Some parents, mostly mommy or daddy bloggers share their child’s experiences to build an audience and gain income through paid partnerships with brands and content monetization. This not only exploits child’s privacy but also makes them a digital commodity. 

The Core of the Debate: The Consent;

The core of the debate lies in consent. Young children lack the understanding of the permanence and potential consequences of their online presence. 

While some argue this trend empowers parents to build careers and share their parenting journeys, critics highlight the commodification of childhood.  Currently, no clear regulations govern sharenting for profit.

However, some nations such as France have mandated parents to seek permission from older kids, and teens before posting their content online. 


In the digital age, it is impossible to keep away from the influence of social media. however, we can control the extent to which we post and share our personal data online. Also, it is important for parents to understand that while they share their own parenthood experiences, they are also turning their kids into digital commodities.

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