I learned a new word recently, or maybe I should call it a made-up word.
It means the oversharing of parenting content on social media sites.
We all have that one friend that does this. Snaps photos of their toddler’s breakfast, one of them eating it and the mess they create afterward. And then they continue to share their entire day on Facebook through photos including bath time and of them sleeping. It is overkill. But I think most of us are guilty of some of this. I know I am.
I take a couple photos of my children and post them to Instagram and I don’t ask them for consent. I have family that lives far away and doesn’t get to see my children often. Posting a few photos helps us stay connected especially since children grow and change so fast.
The instant gratification of posting photos and having people like them feels good. A Harvard University researcher found when you get a social media notification, your brain sends a chemical messenger called dopamine.
Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It has been associated with food, exercise, love, sex, gambling, drugs and now getting ‘likes’ on social media. Are we ‘oversharenting’ and using our kids to make ourselves feel good?
And I wonder what is too much. Will children be embarrassed as they get older and see photos of themselves on social media naked in a bath tub? And at what point is it dangerous?
Social media can put you and your children at risk for identity theft. Identity theft is at an all-time high because of the information put out on Facebook and Twitter. Your children can be targeted as well. That cute baby announcement with your newborn’s full name, birthdate and place of birth gives a thief a lot to work with.
The other dangerous part of posting photos of your children is comparing them. Of course most people only post the good things and when their children are looking their best. If your children are still in their pjs at lunch time because they refuse to get dressed, you throw them some cereal so you can sit down for a minute and scroll through social media and you see a photo of your friend’s kid wearing a perfectly white dress doing her homework and eating a healthy snack, it can make you feel bad.
We all have good days and bad days, especially as a parent. There are extreme highs and extreme lows. Seeing someone have a perfect day as a parent while you are having an off day can make you feel like a bad mom. Of course, this isn’t true, but it can make you feel like you’re being kicked when you’re already down.
Social media can be a good tool to connect people, but it can also be a dark hole. I’m not saying don’t post photos of your children, I’m just saying be careful.