Sharenting: parent-child social media sharing

Family Lifestyle TV Highlights

It’s safe to say, we’ve all spent a lot more time at home, online, and with family this year. Social media usage has rocketed, sparking great conversation about our usage and safety. Andrew and Louise Cherrie recently came to the TBN UK studios with their children, and family friend, Mike Bugembe, who is a data scientist and analytics expert. They gathered around the table to discuss ‘Sharenting’ – the parenting social media habit that poses some interesting questions…   

“Sharenting, put simply, is the habitual use of social media to share news and images of your own children,” said Andrew Cherrie. We’ve collated some of the most interesting points from the show along with additional information to support your social media sharing. Of course, it’s important to remember that every family is different! Some parents won’t share at all, some will omit names and faces, while others are happy to share openly. These points are just a guideline to gain some social-media insight: 

Even your toddler has a digital footprint 

As soon as information about our children is posted, shared or filled in online, a ‘digital’ identity surrounding that child is built. Even names, first steps and health issues can begin to build a usable idea of who our children are and who they will become. As they grow, information on their habits, personalities and physicality can be used in huge ways, and the effect will only grow as they do! This is why it’s important to take notice of the things you post. The information provided to social media channels can also shape your parenting! It can affect what sort of parenting adverts you see, change your beliefs about parenting practices, or even influence what schools you choose.  

The details are a matter of safety  

During the discussion, Mike explained: “The moment you take a picture, it contains all of that information about that particular place.” These include the places we go with our children, what we do with them, and at what times we do them. Details such as your outfits or ‘check-ins’ at certain places could provide information on which way you travel to a certain place, or when your children might be alone. For example, providing your child’s school logo, uniform or name in a photo – if teamed with info on the area you live in – could provide someone with a pretty accurate idea of your child’s journey to school. Thinking a little more carefully about what can be deciphered by your posts is a great way to stay safe and post wisely.

Avoid entering the echo-chamber  

You may have heard the phrase ‘echo-chamber’ referring to the effect of only being exposed to like-minded people and things. Whether in politics, health or parenting – only seeing the sort of posts and adverts you like, from the people you like, can be very damaging. When it comes to what we post on social media – all of these findings can show patterns about our preferences based on the weather, time of year or even the mood we are in.

It’s no wonder we often see advertisements for things we have only just spoken about with friends! Mike explained: “With all of the digital footprint that we’ve left out there, they don’t need to listen to you in order to predict what you’re likely to say or search for.” Making sure we engage with a broader group of topics, people and views can help us to stay away from the narrowing school of thoughts social media can sometimes provide.  

What happens now can impact on their future  

Mike used the example of how his father would carry a photo of his children in his wallet – to show others. This example still draws on the love of the parent and their desire to share, however, the impact of a physical photo in a wallet is much less than that of a string of digital posts. The group discussed how some images of experiences, teaching moments or difficult instances with your children can shape the person they become into the future.

The children at the table discussed how images they found embarrassing, affected them too. As children get older, teaching them about the impact of oversharing is a great idea – as Mike explained, information is commonly used for recruitment: whether for a job, university or even support schemes. So what parents and children share now, can even affect their opportunities as they enter education, careers and beyond.

Watch the discussion and find more great tips of parenting children of all ages here.


Taylor Bentliff

Taylor works within our brand team at TBN UK, looking after the majority of our editorial copy and wording across online, print, and production platforms. Taylor has spent 10 years working in Christian media and loves to bring words together to share God's truth.

You may have seen her on various TBN UK programmes including Big Church Day Out, TBN Meets, Start Your Day, Praise, and Partner Time.

She is also a Bible teacher and shares some of her passion for the Word of God on the channel and on our exciting new Grow with TBN UK platform. Why not join one of her workshops!

She is also the founder of Clarity Magazine for Christian women, and on the Leadership Team for Newday, a Christian youth event coming soon to TBN UK!