Sharenting: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

You must have seen it: Parents sharing photos, updates, and other information about their children on social media platforms.

It’s a practice known as “sharenting” (a portmanteau of the word “share” and “parenting”). The word even made it to the Collins English Dictionary in 2016.

I’m one of those “sharenting” parents and my journey began on my blog. You see, it was lonely spending hours alone at home with an infant who could not yet interact with me, so writing became an outlet for the emotions I was experiencing. I would pour out my woes about motherhood and people would comment, give suggestions, or write personal messages. That encouraged me greatly in the first few weeks of becoming a parent two years ago.

Then it evolved into a convenient way of documenting my daughter’s growing up years. I began to post monthly updates of her physical progress, significant milestones, our outdoor adventures, and so on. Before long, the readership grew and readers began to request posts about specific parenting topics. These ranged from what books we read for bedtime, to how we prepared her meals and what we did on holidays etc.

But soon, I experienced the downside to “sharenting”. On one occasion, while we were at the supermarket doing our weekly grocery run, a stranger came up to us, called my daughter by name, and then proceeded to try and carry her. Shocked, I quickly and courteously declined her request. The lady insisted she knew us and revealed that she was a follower of my blog and an ardent fan of my daughter, who was then barely a year old.

Despite that rather unsettling incident, I continue the practice of “sharenting”—now slightly wiser and a whole lot more careful. For one, I no longer put up my child’s personal information on a public sphere. I am also selective about whom I allow access to my blog, as far as possible.

After speaking with a handful of fellow blogging mums, I’ve come up with a few guidelines for myself which I now also try to reflect in my posts.

 

1. Keep it recent

I try to write about events within the same month, week, or day, if I’m able. The memory of the event might get fuzzy and the sharing inaccurate if I take too long to record what happened. The experience ought to be recorded fresh, such that authentic emotions, expressions, and so on are reflected.

 

2. Never shame your child

Naked baby photos, embarrassing birthday party surprises, and falls are fun to record, but these ought to be for personal consumption alone. Let us remember that like us, our kids will one day grow up and would want their privacy and integrity intact.

 

3. Spend more time offline

In this day and age, it is so easy to be caught up in the digital world. You plan to upload one photograph, but you end up scrolling your newsfeed and tapping on various links. And before you know it, a whole hour has passed. I know it because it happened to me too.

Let’s take great care to protect our time with our children, because that time is precious. While capturing moments on camera is important, your child would rather you go through the experience with them, rather than just having a pretty snapshot of himself/herself. Be with them in the moment and you won’t regret it later.

 

The greatest takeaway for me in my “digital” parenting journey so far has been having like-minded parents to interact with—fellow Christian mums whom I liken to allies in this battle to raise a generation of selfless (rather than entitled) individuals living for the cause of the Kingdom of Heaven. Young mums who share my struggles and older, more experienced mums who empathize with me and give me valuable advice.

I may not profess my Christian beliefs explicitly on social media, but I’d like to believe every choice and every parenting “theory” I share is centered on God’s love for me.

2 replies
  1. Samuel Mwaura
    Samuel Mwaura says:

    Sharing is a bit like the Truman show camera always on us we get privacy only when we go to sleep …

    Jesus was much like our public figure type celebrity politicians actors musician athletes and govt officials ….

    Yet he normally sort to spend time alone in prayer or with his passie …

    Like the time the disciples found him gussing with a Samaritan woman who was living in sin and away from the God of Jacob !!!

    Or the time he woke up earlier than his disciples to pray only for the sleepy head boys to claim they’ve been looking for him all morning ….

    Another time he went ahead of the crowd that was following him in a small vessel with the disciples Judy so they would rest and chill out a bit …

    When the short boat ride came to an end the cats in that region had already reached the opposite side before the boat ….

    Another time he met them struggling with a small boat on the high seas after spending part of the night in prayer to his heavenly Dad …

    They were so tired God only knows what they thought when they saw a stranger walking towards the boat on water like a wave runner nuh !!!

    Jesus understanding they were in distress sort to call their nervous minds ….

    Peace be still it is I !!!!

    Then he spent three days in the back of the desert with hungry cats and when he asked his board members to feed them they shrieked !!!

    Man were not funded for this mission in case you’ve spent too much time in this desert weather aah!!!

    Point taken you feed them …
    Now boss is it the desert sun what ua asking us to do is MI 3 we would need three yrs wages to get that kind of dough !!!!

    A small boy had lunch for one day only and that was it …

    Still we remember his outstanding behavior by the way he was willing to sacrifice this small dish of fish and loaves ….

    Jesus took the lunch looked up gave thanx and divided the provisions among the hungry cats …

    12 baskets of food were left enough provisions for each man for days !!!

    Reply

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