Is sharenting something we should be worried about?
The New York Times recently ran an article on a new term to me ‘sharenting’. The article can be found by clicking on the link below. Sharenting put simply is parents oversharing content of their children and their children’s activities. It’s related to the concept of “too much information.”
Read more: The Problem With Sharenting
As if parenting isn’t difficult enough, life is being made more difficult with the unprecedented growth of social media in the last decade. I have worked in marketing for a number of years and even I struggle to get my head around the ways in which our personal data and online behaviours are tracked and utilised by large corporations and governments. In the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytical scandal, Mark Zuckerberg even said that Facebook is trying to keep up with the changes in the digital world and never expected the industry to be in the state it is today.
If Facebook is struggling to regulate the industry and know what is the best way forward, how on earth do we mere mortals even start to educate our children on social media, especially as most of us don’t even really understand it.
First of all, let’s make a clear distinction between using social media and understanding it. Being an active user on Instagram or Facebook, posting pictures of your holidays or new car or indeed what you are eating for lunch means you are a user. In order to properly understand social media, you have to dedicate large chunks of your life delving deep into the murky world of how these platforms can be used to influence people’s decision making about how they live their daily lives, how Presidential elections are manipulated or laws and policies are passed. Only then can you say you have an understanding.
So how do we safeguard our children against this industry when we don’t understand its side effects and we have no idea where it will be in 5 years, 10 years or beyond?
Unfortunately we don’t have the answers. We are but a mere travel company.
Read more: About Us
However, there are some simple rules you can apply in your everyday life.
Don’t try to just limit your child’s screen time. Limit your own first. Children want to be like their parents, they want to do what their parents do and so they copy their behaviour. If you spend your life looking into a screen, guess what? Your kid will too.
Think about your privacy settings on your social platforms. If you don’t have ambitions to be the next ‘influencer’ then do your posts really have to be visible to the general public? A couple clicks and you can restrict it so only your friends and families can see where you are and what you are doing.
Even Instagram are concerned about the impact of their platform on the mental health of their users and so are hiding the number of likes on posts. If they are concerned, I would suggest you should be too! The guys over at the Goat Agency, an influencer marketing agency discussed this move and even these guys can’t agree on what is best.
How is your content used by others?
It might be that you don’t think there is such a big problem with this and that is great and I hope you are right. But just in case, before you share, just stop and think about how your content could be used by others. I am thinking about those people who might not have the best intentions. Are you declaring your upcoming holiday so that burglars know your house will be empty next week? Are you accidentally letting people see the layout of your house without ever stepping inside? Where you set your car keys as you walk through the door. As an ex-police officer, I agree I may be more paranoid than most.
This is just looking at your personal security. I am not even going to touch on some of the other reasons why people enjoy seeing your family pictures. Google it for yourself.
Be present in the moment
But look, using Instagram and Facebook in moderation shouldn’t be a big deal. But the important bit is moderation. Our trips will be taking you and your family to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, many of which are now rated on how Instagramable they are. Some tour operators tried to reverse this trend by banning all phones and devices on their trips. Not many of those operators are still operating.
Read more: Our Destinations
So, of course, you are going to what to record these memories and be able to look back on them in years to come. All I am saying is just stop and think about how this may or may not impact your children in the future and then make a conscious decision, not letting others decide for you. But most importantly, don’t let getting that one picture take away from what is a special moment with your children. Be present and in the moment and engage with them.