sharenting | 

Deirdre Reynolds: Sharing isn't caring when it comes to the children

Parents may end up regretting their 'cutesy' kid Facebook posts

Dubliner Jonathan and wife Anna

Deirdre Reynolds

Children born the year Facebook was founded become adults this year.

But their parents won't have to dig out an old-fashioned photo album to embarrass them at their 18th birthday party.

From sonogram to first steps right through to their debs, every moment of their young lives has probably already been documented in thousands of photos shared with family and friends online since 2004.

Modern five-year-olds have around 1,000 snaps of them on social media, studies show.

In today's world of 'sharenting', it can often feel like many five-day-olds do too.

Irish YouTuber Jonathan Saccone Joly this week revealed how he had deleted every video from the family's channel, which has 1.73m subscribers, after reconsidering his children's autonomy.

And the drastic action makes switching your Facebook profile to private seem a bit slack.

Dubliner Jonathan and wife Anna (both pictured) began vlogging about their everyday life together in 2009, even famously sharing the home birth of their first child, Emilia, four years later on online reality show, The Saccone Jolys, before also welcoming Edie (7), Alessia (5) and Andrea (3).

But the social media stars, thought to have earned about €1.8m from their daily 15-minute videos, have also come under fire for broadcasting their second eldest child's transition from boy to girl, including a video entitled 'His First Pair of High Heels' and a 'gender reveal do over'.

Speaking about their decision to erase their entire back catalogue from the platform, the dad of four said: "If you're a parent and you have children, you know how socially aware your children are, and that's when I started thinking maybe it's time to not only stop doing it but also to sort of erase it.

"Some of my kids are old enough to be able to not consent to being on the internet," he added. "They're also old enough to tell me they want to do it.

"I love my children more than I love my YouTube videos. I just want to give them an opportunity to curate their own life story on the internet."

Now maths isn't my strongest suit, but isn't it about ten years too late for all that?

Not that the Saccone Jolys are alone in plastering their kids all over social media, after one survey found that, of the mums who use Facebook, 97 per cent also post pictures and 46 per cent post videos of their children, which perhaps also explains an app enabling others to block such cutesy content.

Although I'm not signed up to 'STFU, Parents' just yet, a page for those fed up of their friends' non-stop baby updates, I am face-palming hard here at the Millennial mums and dads who've apparently just realised that there may be implications to over-sharing everything from their child's first poo to their playschool graduation in the future.

On the extreme end of the scale, security experts have warned of everything from children's identities being stolen to the unfortunately more obvious danger of their photos being manipulated for even seedier purposes, should parents fail to take their kids' online security as seriously as they might their own.

In reality, of course, harmlessly spamming family and friends near and far with photos of a gap-toothed schoolgoer on their First Communion day is more likely to lead to having to deal with a mortified teenager - or conducting a social media cull like dad Jonathan - down the line.

With a fifth of employers admitting to using social media to suss out candidates though, parents have only themselves to blame if, in ten years time, their little darling ends up being quizzed about why they were sent to the naughty step back in 2016.

Maybe kids should be allowed to crawl before leaving a digital footprint.

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