Social Media and the Modern Parent

Just recently I became a mom for the first time. I couldn’t wait to share pictures of our beautiful baby girl, but then I thought; I’m not quite ready to share her just yet. Now that she’s three months, I share more pictures of her on Facebook due to the simple fact that our family is in B.C. and it’s just easier than texting everyone. However, we’ve ensured that we turned the share feature off on any photos of her so that we can control the audience. We do have family that will only share pictures on special occasions, but they also have all their family members close, allowing them to see the little ones in person much more frequently.

But, I’ve seen many occurances in public where the child will do something for the first time and the parents rush to grab their phones and decide if it’s good enough to post. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly taken pictures but that doesn’t mean they need to go on social media. You can look through my phone and see thirty pictures that are basically the same. New mom!

There’s always that one parent that will bombard you with bragging; little Johnny got an A in science, ate all his veggies, and scored the winning goal during his hockey tournament. But thanks to social media, you don’t need to hit up the playground to get all this information. Nope, it’s all right there on social media while you’re taking a personality quiz. You know all about little Johnny whether you want to or not. You see the comments and reactions, and a little competition starts in your mind. Some parents start to compare, and even question their own parenting style. Why though? We’re only seeing what they’re posting on social media. What we aren’t seeing is that Johnny failed math, and had to sit at the table for hours to finish those veggies.

A national poll from the University of Michigan Children’s hospital found that 75% of parents overshare. They say “sharenting” ranged from inappropriate pictures to details regarding where their child might be at a certain time. It also mentions that parents may create an online identity for their child just based on what has been shared. Many parents don’t think they overshare, but if you were to ask a friend or family member would they agree? Nothing sadly seems to be off limits as to what people will share; not all of it good! A friend of mine was so excited when her son was potty training, that she felt she needed to share the details in the potty on facebook. Needless to say, I really didn’t need or want to see that. #Gross.

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Social media can be a great way to reach out to other parents for advice from how to get baby to sleep, to simply “my kid ate cake for breakfast. Does this make me a bad dad?”. Most of the times, the responses to these questions are positive; and then you get that one. You know the one I’m talking about; the negative Nelly who according to them has the PERFECT child, and would never let their child do any of things being mentioned. Despite all the positive feedback that you’ve gotten, that one negative comment can make you feel like you need to rush to chapters and pick up the latest parenting how to book. I was raised with the mindset of “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” and I believe that even with social media.

I was born long before social media was really even a thought, so I was forced to play and socialize. My mom would put on my favourite Disney movie (was definitely Sleeping Beauty) just to get things done around the house. No harm no foul, but it was not a replacement tool for parenting. I understand even now with a little one that sometimes you go into survival mode just for 5 minutes of quiet, but so often anymore I see a little one with an Ipad to their face and the parent with a phone. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing the odd time, but how often does that happen? Has social media become a babysitter for some?

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Are you a social media parent?

Modern Parenting- Do you overshare? #modparent #socialmedia #parentlife

7 thoughts on “Social Media and the Modern Parent

  1. I was born before all the tech stuff as well, but I myself am ADDICTED to all things Apple based. I am working really hard to limit my boys usage but it is hard, I work from home, and get so involved in it, I often loose track of time and forget their still on their iPads. The nice thing is they are teaching themselves stuff too – my son when he was 8 learned how to write Mandarin off of YouTube.
    I look back at Facebook memories and think to myself – wow I posted that, I know I overshared on some things involving the kids, nothing to do with potty training though!
    great article!

  2. Oh boy. Dear to my heart this one. I am an overshare-er when it comes to my child (she’s just so amazing). That said, we try VERY hard to not give her TV/screens. She can sit at a restaurant and colour happily! Yay us! It amazes me the creativity that can come out of her. But, we watch her peers who get oodles of screen time know stuff she simply doesn’t know. It is a bit scary to see the difference.

  3. I have a few people on my friends list who definitely overshare info about their kids, but I think everyone’s opinion of oversharing is different. I really enjoy her funny posts, like the time she walked into her kid’s bedroom to find him holding his own feces while sleeping (I have never needed more of a sign that kids are not for me), but I don’t need to see a picture of her kid every single day or about the particularly bad tantrums they’re having this week. I also worry about privacy; it seemed like when Facebook first became a thing people were afraid to let their kids online because of strangers on the internet but now people are making Instagram accounts for their 2-month old baby and posting public photos every day….I just don’t really understand it, nothing has changed there’s still strangers and creeps on the internet.

  4. Great topic! I’m biased, as a mom of three and a social media fan. đŸ™‚

    I used to be something of an over-sharer about my kids online. It was largely based in being an isolated stay at home mother, who replaced the actual social interaction I was craving with social media posts. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve evolved as a parent, and gained back some of my independence, my posting is more infrequent. I feel like a lot of over-sharing comes from that same place of isolation and that’s not talked about enough. I wonder if there is a correlation between oversharing on social media and post-partum mood disorders.

    I also feel that “distracted parenting” has always been around and technology is often used as a scapegoat. I was raised in the 80s and 90’s and while we didn’t sit around with tablets and phones, my mother was often buried in a book or craft or busy on the phone with a friend while we kids were sent outside to play, or to the living room to watch TV. Parents have always ignored their kids to some extent (some more than others!). I think social media actually has instilled a sense of guilt in modern parents for not interacting with their kids 24/7, a guilt that previous generations didn’t have, to the same level at least.

    Can’t wait to see your next blog!

  5. My son is 22, so born before social media. I have to say that although I found being a new mom lonely at times, I am grateful that I was not bombarded with the mom shaming that I see too many times on social media these days. I have no idea how mothers stay sane today, always being judged by strangers behind a screen.

    I really enjoy seeing the pictures of my friends and family members children, especially since some of them live far away and it is the only way to keep in touch. And I agree that sometimes it can be too much. Some years ago, I became social media friend with an acquaintance that worked in my field. I found his experiences very entertaining. As soon as he became a parent, we would only see pictures of his son, and nothing else. It just became too much.
    Congratulations on being a new mom!

  6. Very good article. I agree with these points that you made. Sometimes we feel that technology really has become the new babysitter. It’s always good to see the positive and the negative side of things. Great read!

  7. Great article I loved it. I can totally see where you’re coming from not wanting to post pictures of your daughter the minute she was born some people like to keep it private. And if that works for them than that’s perfect. Also congratulations on being a new mom. And it’s true that some parents do tend to overshare pictures of their kids.

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