Wednesday, 29 May 2013

"Sharenting" and striking a balance

The term "sharent" (which I despise, incidentally), became known to me after reading this article on the Guardian website.  For those who are fortunate enough to not have heard this word before, a "sharent" is a parent who shares details of their childrens' lives on social media platforms or on a blog.  I think a lot of us are guilty of this supposed crime; indeed, my own children are growing up on this blog.

However, this is what annoys me about the word - that it seems to come laden with stigma.  Why should we feel guilty for taking advantage of technology and creating a lasting impression of our children?  Recording stories to share when they are older.  Remembering the little things of childhood that would otherwise be forgotten.

I reject unsubstantiated claims that the stories and photographs that we share today will damage our children in ten or 20 years' time.  I honestly doubt that Jasmine or Sonny would be any more embarrassed by their presence on my blog than I was when my mother presented my boyfriend (now fianc√©, soon to be husband) with a fistful of my baby photos.

Including these two gems:-

On their first meeting.

From her hospital bed, whilst recovering from an operation to remove two large gallstones.

Which she had asked to keep and also proceeded to show James.

You see, my mum didn't need the internet to embarrass me.  This is what we do, as parents.  We, either by accident or with gleeful purpose, embarrass our children.  So I will not apologise for being a blatant sharent, nor will I stop it, because my children will deal with it.

What I may have to do, though, is alter the content of my posts, slightly.  Having received contact from a PR this morning, simply to tell me that my blog is public so to be careful what I post, I have thought a lot about this.  Though there was no further information or advice within this particular email, I assume that she alluded to some of the photographs I have included in my messy play posts.

The ones of my children in their underwear. 

Although this is not how I see it; to me, they are photographs of my children learning and having fun, and to lose them is to lose some of the spirit and, I think, point of the post.

I have considered two things with regard to my adding photographs to my blog.  My objective and my intended audience.  The former is simple.  I post photographs that are relevant to my posts and I write posts that share our experiences, particularly through messy play.

With regard to my intended audience, first and foremost, it is my children.  I started this blog for them, so that we can look back on it together, when they are fully grown.  Secondly, I write for family who are interested in what we get up to, and then I write for other parents and bloggers - those who share our interests.  None of the people for whom I write this blog would be affected or offended by the images I post.

So, with those two issues addressed, I am happy with my decisions regarding the current content of my blog.

However, as my blog is public, I cannot guarantee whose hands my images may end up in, so I am now thinking that I should censor my posts a little.  I have the option to make the blog completely private, though I do not want to do this. 

I have already amended my squirty cream post from last night, removing any photographs that may have been cause for concern to my faceless PR friend.  This makes me sad.  Sad about the world we live in, where anyone could view a photo of a child and see anything other than innocence, and sad about what my post has lost.  The photos of my children smiling and enjoying their play spoke louder than any words I could write in their place.

I suppose this is the compromise we all must face, and possibly what gives "sharenting" a bad name.  How much is TMI, and how do we strike a balance?  Those who read my blog will know the names of my children, their ages and their faces, but the reasoning behind this comes back down to intended audience and the fact that I like my blog to be a personal space.

After all, it is written as a gift to my children.


  1. I shared the issues I had with my son's poo because it was something I believed could shine light on other parents having the same issue. He was on medicine to soften his poo after he was bleeding whilst passing a stool. Sadly it got worse and ended up in hospital but found out it was a diet issue and Banana was the cause. I never posted a photo of the nappies (it upset me to see and didn't want to upset others) but I did talk about it simply to help others. Yes I talk about my son's poo on social media and my blog but only to help others who have the same scare as we did.

    1. Yes, I think the majority of us post things with clear intent, rather than gratuitously. As you say, speaking out about things that may be seen as unpleasant or taboo will hopefully help others who are perhaps going through something similar but were too frightened to seek help. Thank you for commenting.

  2. I write very openly about my life which includes my children, I hate the fact we have to even consider censoring things like photos, the fact our children's memories have to be checked first is simply ridiculous. I am all for over sharing, whether people like it or not (mostly about me) I hope my girls read back and laugh through it all with me! xxx

  3. I am finding it very sad that this subject needs to be raised, and it is making me question whether I've shared too much, even whether I should just make the blog private and not let anyone see it. Thank you for commenting. x

  4. I wrote a post about this today too! My thoughts were very similar to yours, it's creating a family record and not aimed at embarrassing my children. There are times when I have to rethink pictures but mostly I'm happy sharing.

  5. I often worry about what I share. I started using the boys names then changed them. But it wouldn't take much to work out if someone wanted to find out. I worry as my son gets older too, but at the eons of the day I could always make a paper copy and remove it off the Internet. I would love a record of all the things I'd done wham I was little x

  6. We've talked about this with our teenagers quite a bit recently. I don't post things on my blog that they aren't aware of, but the world has changed. Potential employers, suitors and friends look at our Facebook and Google us and can find out tons of stuff about people who are now 30 or 40, in 20 years time I think everyone younger than 50 will expect to have a past available to view, and EVERYONE will have embarrassing stories and photo's on the net, so everyone will be in the same boat.