Aug 9, 2019 - Technology

The "sharenting" kidlash

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Generation Alpha — the first cohort to be born entirely within the smartphone era — is increasingly a battleground between family members over privacy for their tots.

Why it matters: Kids of every generation can relate to being publicly embarrassed by their parents. But Generations Z and A are the first whose embarrassment will be recorded for posterity.

  • Kids don't get to consent to having their entire lives — from the cute to the humiliating — documented online, as noted in a video op-ed by the N.Y. Times.
  • Toss in parents who grew up watching people get fired for Facebook pictures or bad tweets — and add increasing concerns about privacy and identity theft, and you've got the beginning of the end for oversharing about kids online.

Fair enough: But Grandma and Grandpa — or a well-meaning aunt, uncle or cousin — might not be on the same page, as BuzzFeed News reported.

  • “My mom has a public profile and posts several times a day on her page and has tons of interactions, often with people she doesn’t necessarily know,” one millennial parent told BuzzFeed News.
  • “Because I want to be more private about photos of my son, I have had to ask her to please not post his picture — or, if she’s going to, that she please change the privacy settings for that specific post."
  • "For the most part she has done what I’ve asked, but I could tell she was really annoyed about it. One time she posted a photo that straight-up had our home address on it, and she couldn’t understand why I was so upset!”

The bottom line: "Parents get a lot of gratification from telling kids’ stories online," education reporter Anya Kamenetz wrote for the Times.

  • "It’s less clear what our children have to gain from their lives being broadcast in this way."

Go deeper: Meet Generation Alpha, the 9-year-olds shaping our future

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