This essay first appeared in the Washington Post. Read the full essay here.
I talk about my kids on social media. I do it because I am proud of them, and of course I do it because I think they are adorable.
And sometimes I do it, maybe subconsciously, for my own benefit. Such as the time I posted a picture of my son’s art project: a picture of Martin Luther King Jr., one of his heroes. He wrote under his hand-drawn picture: “I have a dream that Martin Luther King’s dream will always come true.” I shared it the day after Elizabeth Warren, while reading from a letter by Coretta Scott King, was forced to sit down. My son’s artwork, created weeks before, offered me hope that, indeed, hope would still be seen, even if only to my Facebook newsfeed.
Does it matter? Am I oversharenting?
Dr. Bahareh Keith and I co-authored an article in JAMA Pediatrics. It is available for download here: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2613405
Keith BE, Steinberg S. Parental Sharing on the InternetChild Privacy in the Age of Social Media and the Pediatrician’s Role. JAMA Pediatr. Published online March 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.5059
I was thrilled to be quoted in a recent NPR article, written by Tara Haelle.
“[Stacey] Steinberg and Bahareh Keith, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine, say most children will likely never experience problems related to what their parents share, but a tension still exists between parents’ rights to share their experiences and their children’s rights to privacy.
‘We’re in no way trying to silence parents’ voices,’ Steinberg says. ‘At the same time, we recognize that children might have an interest in entering adulthood free to create their own digital footprint.'”
I was also quoted in a recent Reader’s Digest article, written by Stephanie Smith.
“‘Think of your kids as autonomous people who are entitled to protection not only from physical harm but intangible harm as well,’ says Stacey Steinberg, a legal skills professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida, and associate director for the Center on Children and Families.”
Our research has also been cited this month in numerous international publications, including The Irish Times, Europia Press, Marie Claire Italy, Univision, O Globo, News World India, Knowing Asia , and more.
It has been an incredible honor to see my work reach such a broad audience. I am so grateful to the talented writers and editors who have featured my work.
Dr. Bahareh Keith and I presented our abstract on children’s privacy last weekend at the American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Conference. It was an incredible experience. Like us, many members of the audience have grappled with balancing parental sharing with children’s privacy. It was wonderful to share our research with such thoughtful professionals.
We received a significant amount of press coverage during the event. Here is a small sampling of the news features discussing our work.
CNN – The do’s and don’ts of posting about your kids online [link] October, 2016
CBS News – Something to consider before posting about your kids [link] October, 2016
“’Online sharing offers many positive benefits to both parents and children and to communities as a whole, but this message is all about finding a balance,’” Steinberg told CBS News. “’A parent’s right to share and the benefits of sharing is very important and by exploring this we can find a way to allow families to connect online but also to respect children’s privacy.’”
I had the pleasure of sharing my research with Slate this week. Here are some quotes from the article:
“Steinberg suggests a focus on providing guidance that helps parents think through the implications of sharing information about their kids online.
In a forthcoming article in the Emory Law Journal, she considers how a public health–based approach to behavior change could address these concerns. For example, health professionals have mounted campaigns to educate parents and the general public about ways to combat secondhand smoke exposure and sudden infant death syndrome. In the article, Steinberg provides a list of recommendations for parents, including the suggestion that parents ask their children before posting pictures online and give children “veto power” over information, photos, or videos they don’t want to be shared. Steinberg, who along with pediatrician Bahareh Keith will present on this topic at next month’s national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, believes doctors could be a good source for parents to turn to get advice about online sharing decisions.”
You can read the full article here.
I’ve written extensively about sharenting, or the practice of parents sharing about their children on social media. You can read my research here and my Washington Post essay here. You can also read my NY Times interview on the subject here.
I was interviewed by Redbook Magazine this week. Here are some highlights from the article:
“‘Most parents want to do the best for their kids, [but] when it comes to online sharing, there’s just not a lot of information out there — parents can be at a loss,'” she says. …
But while there may be a lack information, there’s an abundance of sharing from other parents. Steinberg says that a whopping 92 percent of 2-year-olds have a social media presence, and one-third of all kids appear on social media within the first twenty four hours of their lives. …
Steinberg pointed out that there are, indeed, lots of pluses to so-called ‘sharenting,’ such as how it can foster a sense of community.
‘I think that really, when we look at these issues, we’re going to have to find a way for society to value a parent’s right to share, and a child’s interest in privacy,’ Steinberg says.”
Last year, I wrote an essay with Dr. Jennifer Sager about parenting against rape culture for The Washington Post.
There is no way to inoculate our children from becoming victims or perpetrators of rape. But parents can help their children recognize and avoid the erroneous and harmful attitudes surrounding sex, power, control, and coercion. Teach children to respect their bodies, instincts, and emotions. At the same time, give them tools to recognize and respect the same thing in others. Perhaps by doing so, we can shift the dialog and begin to create a culture that fosters healthy boundaries and ends all forms sexual violence.
The essay was shared widely on social media this week, and we were interviewed on the topic by NBC’s TODAY. A link to the article, written by Allison Slater Tate, with our quotes on the topic can be viewed here.
“After the past week’s focus on the sexual assault case at Stanford, Steinberg said it is crucial that parents acknowledge that rape culture does exist and the part that parents can play in fighting it. ‘We owe it to our children to shift this culture,’ she said. ‘We all want our children to enter adulthood armed with the best tools to steer their life’s course.'”
On March 8, 2016, New York Times editor K.J. Dell’Antonia interviewed me regarding children’s privacy on social media. I’ve written a law review on this topic, forthcoming in the Emory Law Journal.
Read the full article here:
Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say
A few additional links to articles referring to this interview are here:
Kveller: Kids Wish Their Parents Would Stop Posting About Them on Social Media
Express: How the tables have turned: Kids now telling parents to ditch their phones
A draft of my forthcoming article, Children’s Privacy in the Age of Social Media, is available here. It will be published in the Emory Law Journal in Spring, 2017.
Two kindergartners were sent to the principal’s office during their second week of school. One hit a little girl after she refused to share a toy. The other smacked a little boy after he cut to the front in the lunch line.
At the principal’s office, each child was asked what happened in their respective confrontations. Both admitted they used their hands, and both knew they were in the wrong. As would happen in many American schools, both boys were issued two-day suspensions.
One child, Bobby, had been removed from his parents’ care and lived with a foster family. The other child, Sam, lived with his parents, both college educated and involved at the school.
Co-authored by Jennifer Sager, Ph.D.
Child welfare professionals were not surprised to learn that sexual abuse occurred in the Duggar home. With nineteen children (and counting), the odds suggested that at least a fifth of the children in the home would experience sexual abuse in their lifetime. The first sign of sexual abuse was a tragic occurrence. The multiple acts that followed were an outrage, and likely, those multiple acts could have been stopped.
Scribble marks on a legal pad greeted me as I walked into the office. It was the first time in a week that I didn’t have a child attached to my hip. The sheer irony of seeing my preschooler’s drawing sitting next to a mountain of legal textbooks made me laugh.
Last week started with a painfully long “to do” list. I had papers to grade, meetings to attend, and I had to pack my family for our upcoming road trip. I organized my calendar and purchased enough coffee to manage it all, but when our two year old spiked a fever on Monday, my plans evaporated and I panicked.
Dear Child Advocate,
I remember him as if we met yesterday. Johnny, not even six months old, sat on my lap and giggled as I finished getting together my court documents. I was a young attorney for Florida’s Department of Children and Families, learning how to navigate the complexities of child welfare. Johnny had bruises on his body, his runny nose had crusted over, and he was filthy. I wanted to drop everything and scrub away his despair.
Something in me changed that day.
Before becoming a law professor, before starting my photography business, before blogging, I had one “job” other than motherhood. I was a child welfare attorney, working alongside child advocates just like you. I worked with men and women who, on a daily basis, risked their own safety and sacrificed their own personal needs to protect abused and neglected children in my community. We worked as a team, but it was not until a social worker got sick and asked me to watch Johnny that I realized that while I led the fight in the courtroom, the real heroes led the fight on the ground.
The concerned citizen who calls in an abuse report. The social worker who brings a child to safety. The foster parent who answers phone calls in the middle of the night. The therapist who heals the broken heart. The doctor who fixes the broken bone. The nurse who provides nutrition to the neglected belly. The schoolteacher who provides continuity during a time of great upheaval. The volunteer who collects Christmas presents and advocates through philanthropic service. The adoptive parent who gives a child a forever home.
Born in the late seventies, I am either one of youngest members of Generation X or the very oldest of the Millennials. I entered my teenage years without an email account, and left for college without a cell phone. I had a beeper, and I remember the Gulf War. I was already an adult when the planes struck on 9/11, and dial-up internet was a thing of the past by the time I hit my junior year of college.
I’ve read a million parenting articles geared towards making sure our kids enjoy the perks we knew and loved during our coming of age, but what are the shared experiences that make up parenting a Generation Z kid? After consulting with parents and educators, I’ve created a list of five Generation Z truths I believe are universal.
Imagine being a nine year old child. Picture yourself studying for a test, walking into class, feeling confident you prepared the best you could. How would you feel if after finishing the test you only understood half the questions? Would your confidence be shaken?
This essay originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
Moms, I know you are out there. Like me, I know you are trying to catch your breath as you race from work to daycare at 5:30, hoping your child isn’t the last to get picked up. I bet your stress melts away the moment you drop to your knees on the preschool room floor. I don’t think I am alone in feeling an overwhelming joy consume me as my child runs towards me, crashing into my outstretched, tired arms.
Do you also marvel at the dichotomy? At work, I feel efficient and productive. Yet this strength seems absent as I try to unpack lunch boxes, prepare dinner, and make meaningful eye contact during the short 90 minutes that exist between taking off my heels and putting the kids to bed. I struggle to hold it all together while watching my 4-year-old throw a tantrum on the living room floor. I worry that his meltdown is somehow my fault, that perhaps if I didn’t work so hard, if I spent less time away from him, maybe the tantrums would disappear from our lives.
I’ve been at this working motherhood thing for nine years. Nine years trying to balance the chaos and understand the emotions that come from constantly trying to navigate between two worlds. And as I enter this tenth year of motherhood, I am trying to accept one simple truth.
I. Am. Enough. You are, too. Say it with me: “I am enough.” Here are five things I remind myself of while trying to balance career and family. I hope this list comes in handy tonight as you simultaneously flip yet another load of laundry and mentally draft an email before collapsing into bed.
Last week, I found myself at a coffee shop grading papers. I couldn’t help but overhear two young college students talk about career options and their dreams for work-life balance. It was so hard not to interject. There is so much I want to tell them. But where to begin?
I remember being in their shoes. A third year law student, I thought I knew so much. I wanted to feel passionate about work. I wanted to make a difference. I was sure I would make good money. And I was confident I would seamlessly transition into motherhood a few years down the road.
My confidence was misplaced. While I left law school armed with knowledge and enthusiasm, I had little in my arsenal to prepare me for the realities of balancing work and life.