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.