At the same time that many parents worry about their children and what they are doing online, these same adults enjoy sharing pictures and funny information about their kids (funny to the parents, not to the kids). Many children, especially as they head into late elementary and middle school, are not at all happy about what their parents post.
Recently I read a thoughtful article, Too Much Sharing: Students Ask Parents to Think Twice Before Posting, in the Bloomington Pantagraph (Illinois). The article described a class at the Bloomington Junior High School that studied personal digital privacy. Their teacher, Karen Kelly, found that students expressed frustration with their parents and the things that they shared about their children. She found that many had tried to have a conversation with a parent, asking that less be shared, and some even ask Ms. Kelly if she would speak with parents.
So the seventh graders created a terrific video, sharing and explaining—by holding up cards with short messages—why they do not want their parents to share so much. It’s such a good digital parenting learning tool that it should be viewed by middle school parents everywhere. I’ve included two of their reminders as images, but check out the entire video!
My May 2015 post, Sharenting? Kids Are Beginning to Notice, describes a survey that researchers at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conducted on sharenting. This, too, is a good resource for digital parenting.
Kids take note what their parents are posting, so it’s time for each family to have a conversation about what to post and what not to post and apply those guidelines to children and adults in the family.