How can society balance a child's right to privacy with a parent's right to share?
This is the question I've been asking, both personally and professionally, for the past four years. My first essay on sharenting, Parenting in the Facebook Age: Should We Rethink How We Share? was published in The Washington Post in 2015. In 2016, I was quoted in many news articles, including a viral New York Times article titled Don't Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say. My research culminated in a law review article, Sharenting: Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media, and a co-authored JAMA Pediatrics Viewpoint, Sharenting: Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media and the Pediatricians Role, both published in 2017.
I'm a writer, a legal scholar, a photographer, and a mom. My interest in sharenting found its genesis in self-reflection. I love sharing about my children through my writing and my photography. When I began researching sharenting, I set off to explore whether there exists a better way to share our stories as parents while at the same time protect our children’s privacy interests. My most recent essays, Growing Up Under the Watchful Eyes of his Mother's Newsfeed (Washington Post, 2017), and Sharenting: In whose interests? (London School of Economics PDF blog, 2017), both suggest that parents don't intrude on a child’s digital identity because they are malicious, but because they simply have not yet considered its importance.
After spending years researching at the intersection of my right to share and my children's right to privacy, I've chosen to keep sharing my story. I believe we can continue to share and connect as parents in our online communities, as long as we remain mindful of our children's interests in controlling their own digital footprints.
Well-informed families can thrive in today's culture of connectivity.
Stacey writes about law, culture, motherhood, and social media. She is one a sought after expert sharenting, and the exploration of how society can balance a child's right to privacy with a parent's right to share.
Stacey is a legal skills professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she also serves as an Associate Director for the Center on Children and Families. She is also an attorney ad litem, representing abused and neglected children in dependency court proceedings.
Stacey is a lifestyle photographer specializing in candid images of children and families. Through the Shared Hope Project, Stacey kj offers free photography sessions to families battling pediatric cancers and other chronic illnesses.