When Parents Share Too Much About Their Kids on Social Media

Ah, social media – the digital scrapbook of our lives. It’s where we share our joys, our sorrows, and everything in between. We scroll through, comment, like, and so on for things shared by others. And for us parents, it’s often a platform to document our children’s milestones, from their first steps to the first day of school to graduation, and beyond. 

  • But here’s the thing: are we sharing too much? 
  • And what does our decision to share mean for our kids? 
  • Let’s think about parental oversharing and why it might be time to pause before posting that next adorable (or embarrassing) photo of your child.

Once upon a time, like when we were growing up, our childhood embarrassments were not recorded or captured, and if they were, these moments were limited to photo albums tucked away somewhere in our parents’ homes. We all know that childhood and adolescence is filled with thoooooose moments!  And that being messy and making mistakes are parts of growing up. However, now, every moment is shared to potentially hundreds or thousands of followers. That cute bathtub photo or the messy spaghetti face or silly dance might seem innocent now, but remember, the internet never forgets. These images and anecdotes (positive or just venting) can be accessed and reshared indefinitely.

Imagine your child at 16, trying to navigate the already challenging experience of adolescence, only to have a classmate pull up a moment that was captured by a photo that was meant for family eyes only. It’s not just a moment of fleeting embarrassment; it can impact their self-esteem and how peers perceive them. This situation happened to a family I am seeing now, and it prompted this post. You see, their son was clomping around in his mom’s high heels, hat, and boa, singing freely with joy when he was younger. Now, this moment in time shared innocently on social media years ago, is being used as a social weapon.

One of the most crucial aspects for me of this issue is consent. Can a toddler, a young child, or an adolescent truly understand what it means to have their image and personal details shared online? The answer is a resounding NO. As parents, we make countless decisions on behalf of our children, but when it comes to their digital footprint, it’s a decision that deserves careful consideration. What we think is cute and shareable now might not align with their views in the future. We must consider their right to control their own digital identity.  

I also believe that privacy matters! In an age where privacy seems like an old-fashioned concept, it’s important to remember why it still matters. Sharing personal details, stories, complaints, successes, and photos of your child can unintentionally expose them to risks. From identity theft to the unsettling possibility of strangers having access to images of your children, the digital world can be a dangerous place. There is another very public psychologist who shares stuff about her daughter, and it really bugs me. Don’t get me wrong, I share my parenting successes, failures, and everything in between, but the content is about me and not really about my boys. 

Moreover, our social media circles aren’t as private as we might think. Friends of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers can stumble upon our posts. This lack of control over who sees what should give any parent pause. 

So, what’s a proud parent to do? How do you strike a balance between sharing your child’s precious moments and safeguarding their privacy?

  1. Ask Yourself Why: Before posting, consider why you’re sharing this particular moment. Is it for likes and validation, or is it something you genuinely want to share with close family and friends?
  2. Privacy Settings: Utilize the privacy settings on social media platforms. Share photos and updates with a select group rather than your entire friend list. 
  3. Think Long-Term: Consider how your child might feel about the post in the future. Will they thank you for it, or will it be a source of embarrassment?
  4. Seek Consent: For older children, involve them in the decision. Ask if they’re okay with a photo or story being shared. Respect their wishes if they say no. I ask my kids (one who is at the age of majority & one who is just a few weeks shy of 18) before sharing a photo or other information. 
  5. Create Private Albums: Share photos and updates through private albums or messaging groups meant for close family and friends. I have a photo-sharing frame, as do others in my immediate world. I love hearing the ding sound when I receive a new photo from a loved one!  


I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I promise. As parents, we want to celebrate our children and share our joy with the world. But let’s also protect their right to privacy and their future digital selves. It’s a balancing act, but with a little thought and consideration, we can make mindful choices that respect our children’s autonomy and privacy. After all, childhood and adolescence should be about creating memories (the good, bad, ugly, messy…) and not managing a digital persona.


Happy parenting!


Dr. Marnee