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Social media is a daily part of most in today’s society, which has started a trend of constant oversharing of one’s emotions and lives. Although one may not see this as an issue, since it is one’s decision whether or not they share private aspects of their lives, the problem arises when children are involved. Parents who overshare on social media tend to depict details of their children’s lives, which shapes their identities and shares details they may not have wanted to be shared.
In a world where young adults have grown up with social media as a significant part of their lives, it is no surprise that they tend to overshare private details of their own lives, as well as the lives of their children. The issue considered here is not one of the individuals sharing their personal information, it is that they share videos and private information regarding their children, which shapes their identity to the world and may come back to hurt them emotionally in the long run. This topic is a currently being debated because it hits upon the ethical and lawful rights of children before they can consent to such actions. As seen in “The not-so-secret life of five-year-olds: legal and ethical issues relating to disclosure of information and the depiction of children on broadcast and social media,” a child under the age of sixteen who is European may not understand the risks of social media, which is why their parents will need to consent to any actions regarding the child’s private life being mentioned in the media or on social media.However, the article mentions that there is a “question whether relying on parental consent can continue to be a fair and ethical way of protecting the best interests of the child” (Oswald, James, & Nottingham, 2016, p. 214), which is why children of younger age may not give consent if they do not agree with the actions being taken, even if the parents gave permission.This shows that although laws in Europe allow parents to give consent for children, such regulations may no longer be reliable, as parents may be thinking of their own benefits and wants instead of any long-term effects the child may endure.
The long-term effects aforementioned are often overlooked since most do not believe that cute or funny baby videos could ever cause any harm. However, sensitive information that may be shared might later embarrass the children as they grow older and realize what is available on the internet. Such events may result in resentment and misunderstandings on both the children and the parents’ sides. According to Steinberg (2017) in “Sharenting: Children’s Privacy in the Age of Social Media,” there have been long-term issues and conflicts regarding parental sharing and whether children have the right to control what is shared about them. Another long-term problem raised by parental sharing is the idea of data collecting. Per “Children’s Privacy in the Big Data Era: Research Opportunities,” “These trends raise serious concerns about digital dossiers that could follow young people into adulthood, affecting their access to education, employment, health care, and financial services. Although US privacy law provides some safeguards for children younger than 13 years old online, adolescents are afforded no such protections” (Montgomery, Chester, & Milosevic, 2017, p. 1). This topic is especially important in my generation since we have grown up surrounded by technology and, when the time is right, will need to learn how much to share about our children. Unfortunately, due to the long-term longevity of anything posted in social media, there is no way to create a solution where parents post, but children may choose to get rid of any posts at any time. To solve such issues, the best way is for parents to honestly think twice before posting, and to make sure that any posts are not sharing any sensitive or private information that may hurt the children later on.
The current parental oversharing of sensitive information is a trending topic, as it is especially affecting today’s children, adolescents, and young adults. The longevity of anything posted on the internet makes it extremely hard to come up with any solutions to this issue, although it could be avoided if parents were more careful and thoughtful when posting anything regarding their children.
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