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Tips on “Sharenting” from Tatjana Mager-Burr

Tatjana is a student and budding journalist

 

Sharenting is defined as “The practice of a parent regularly using social media to communicate a lot of detailed information about their child”

If parents want to know what their children hate the most about their social media activity, then it is ‘sharenting’. Apple Martin proved this when she clapped-back at her mum, Gwyneth Paltrow, for sharing a picture without her consent on Instagram.

Parents need to understand that we work on our social media profiles just as hard, if not harder, than professional adults work to promote their companies. I can honestly tell you that we, as kids, have to constantly keep up with our social media accounts. Replying to stories, making timely comments on posts, avoiding liking pictures of people you or your friends are in an arguments with… the list is endless.

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I saw some figures that 62 per cent of girls and over 50 per cent of boys are insecure about the way they look. This includes body shape, weight, acne and many more flaws we somehow discover about ourselves after spending long hours looking at ourselves in the mirror.

We are all intimidated by the ‘flawless’ pictures that our peers post and this results in us all spending too much time making our posts ‘insta-worthy’. We are also all aware that these pictures will be online forever and seen by future friends, boyfriends and employers. We are all building our profiles online, whether we are doing it on purpose or not. Then our parents, who are completely naïve to the world of likes and shares and follows, snap a quick pic and post it right away – aka ‘sharenting’. In that photo we have the completely wrong pose, the wrong outfit, we’re not wearing make up… and we are with our parents. Now as rude as that may sound, it simply is not cool to have pictures with parents.

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As adolescents who are so insecure, parents should have to ask for our consent before they go and share pictures of us! I feel that when something includes us, like a picture, we have a right to our own privacy. Teens put a lot of thought into having the perfect post, whereas parents skip all the hard work. I mean, no wonder they don’t get that many likes! Worst of all is when that picture you thought your parents were taking just for memories is shared to all their friends. These friends also have children that might see it and spread it around.

My parents both have social media accounts and people in my class at school have found and followed them. So they can see all the horrible pictures of me in the morning, dribbling ice cream and doing silly poses with my sisters! Parents do get it wrong sometimes. One of my friends, Sarah*, was ‘sharented’ on Christmas Eve when sipping a tiny portion of champagne, which the parents posted and captioned, ‘Bit young to be drinking.’ As light hearted as this picture and caption may be, it upset Sarah.

She handled it in a responsible and sensible way, and sat down with her parents and told them to take it off. Now, doesn’t this just show how rational we can be when it comes to social media? My parents listen to my concerns and will always ask if I am okay with their posts that I feature in. Recently, my dad wanted to post a picture of my sisters and me giving him his birthday cake first thing in the morning. He messaged me when I was on my way to school if he could post the pic on Instagram. Although I didn’t look great, it was nice that he asked for my approval and I responded quickly that, because it was his birthday and he asked me, I would permit it for Instagram. The process was quick and simple.

So for all those adults out there, my message is to listen to your child. These embarrassing photos are torturous for us and have the potential to haunt us forever. We are living in a time where kids really are going through anxiety, depression and other mental health issues through social media. So we want our parents to be there for us to turn to, not as people who heap on more social media-associated pressure.

*Name changed

Tatjana’s parents gave their permission for this piece.

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