When we think of social media, we often think of Instagram-obsessed teenagers and millennials chronicling every second of their existence and not grasping the idea of privacy–from the green smoothie they had at lunch to the funny texts messages they exchange between their baes. But, this actually isn’t always the case. The New York Times recently ran a piece about how kids actually want their parents to stop oversharing about them on Facebook and elsewhere.
Yes, you read that right. The kids are not gonna take it anymore–they want their parents to check in first before posting a million pictures of them from that Disney World vacation. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Michigan found that kids ages 10 to 17 are actually worried about their parents’ social media usage:
“249 parent-child pairs distributed across 40 states and found that while children ages 10 to 17 “were really concerned” about the ways parents shared their children’s lives online, their parents were far less worried. About three times more children than parents thought there should be rules about what parents shared on social media.”
Apparently, one 8th grader even told the Times how they find it a bit mortifying that their friends follow their parents on social media sites:
“I really don’t like it when my parents post pictures of me on their social media accounts, especially after finding out that some of my friends follow them. I definitely know people who have parents who post things they wish weren’t out there. There was a girl in my eighth grade class whose mom opened a YouTube account for her in the fourth grade to show off her singing. Finally, on one of the last months of middle school, a peer played the song in class and almost the entire class laughed hysterically over it.”
It definitely raises important issues regarding privacy and what having a private life actually means. While many parents probably think they are sharing personal details of their own lives, as the Times points out, their kids are also obviously involved–as well as spouses who may or may not be into airing many details.
Stacey Steinberg, a legal skills professor and associate director of the Center on Children and Families at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, stated:
“Parents often intrude on a child’s digital identity, not because they are malicious, but because they haven’t considered the potential reach and the longevity of the digital information that they’re sharing.”
Of course, every family is different and has different preferences and comforts. As technology and social media change and evolve, it seems like a good time for parents and kids to discuss what this means for each other–and how to best traverse the murky waters of the digital age.
What do you think? How do you use social media when it comes to your kids? Share in the comments below.