I have recently been requested to address the phenomenon known as sharenting, which is the term used for sharing photos of your children on social media.
Firstly, I will admit that I am a sharenter / I sharent. I post photos of Kian on my Facebook and Instagram. The privacy on my Facebook account is extensive (well at least to the normal person who does not know how to hack), yet my Instagram profile is public and therefore open to anyone who wants to know where I live (yes my location has been tagged), my gym routine, and that I have a two-year-old boy. Typing all that out is quite a shock to my system.
It’s a comfort that the security in our estate is of superior quality and I don’t feel unsafe (or important enough to have a stalker establish my exact location), but it hits home when you realise how easy it is for someone to establish you (or your family) as a target and to learn your habits. I check in to places. I tag people. I live my schedule quite publicly and yet, a lot of my life is very private. The important part…the part that could cause some danger to me and / or my family is, however, not as private…
My husband and I enjoyed dinner one Sunday evening at a local restaurant and Kian went to play on the jungle gym. I watched Kian like a hawk. I hardly looked at my husband when we spoke to each other, and my husband did the same. I don’t know if it is because we’ve watched too many episodes of CSI or Criminal Minds or my obsession with serial killers, but every single episode that I have watched where a child was kidnapped played through my mind. I did not take my eyes off my boy for fear of what may happen if I do.
Yet, my photos of Kian are for all to see.
When I was first requested to address this in a post my first thought was, what on earth would anyone do with Kian’s photos when he is fully clothed in all his photos? My advice to you as a parent is, don’t google that question.
The long and short of it: Photoshop. Even if it means that they just cut and paste your child’s head on an explicit photo, or edit it in other various ways that I don’t want to upset myself or you with.
‘What you see as innocent, what a healthy, well person sees as innocent, someone with a sexual interest in children turns it into something incredibly perverse’
So, is posting photos of Kian on my social media for all to see and have access to not the same as leaving Kian unsupervised at a play area for anyone to look at or just take for their own purposes?
I am not paranoid and I am not a conspiracy-theorist, but I am fiercely protective of those I love. So if there is a chance that my child’s images may be used in a way or for a purpose that imposes on his civil and natural rights, is it not my duty to protect those? Seeing that I have been entrusted with the responsibility of keeping him safe.
If you have any tips / questions / stories in contribution of the above, feel free to drop me an email on email@example.com.