Many parents share hundreds of photos of their children online before they hit the age of five / GlobalStock/iStock

Your toddler won't eat their breakfast? Maybe keep it to yourself...

“Thank god we didn’t have social media when we were kids” read the caption to a post that popped up on my Facebook feed recently. It was a compilation of pictures that parents across the world had posted online of their kids doing the ridiculous things that kids do, like smashing their face into their birthday cake or laying on the floor exhausted after a tantrum. 

Admittedly, it was hilarious. But the caption made a good point about so-called “sharenting”. As adults, aren’t we glad that our parents didn’t share cringe-worthy images of us as kids online? Sometimes it can get a little uncomfortable to read mums and dads moaning about how terribly behaved their children are. Just imagine how it would play out IRL if a dad stood in the middle of a shopping centre holding up a photo of his toddler being sick on a carpet, shouting about how the stain won't even budge with Vanish. Here are some things to consider people sharing that photo of your child laying face down in the supermarket online. 

Sharing is caring. Until it isn't. 

It's great that there's a modern culture of parents being honest about how hard it is to be a mum or dad, from the horrors of giving birth in gory detail to the shock of post-natal depression or struggling to cope with unruly teenagers. That liberates us all.

It can be a joy to scroll through my news feed to see the cheeky things that toddlers have done, or read about a kid’s proud moment winning the egg and spoon race at sports day.  But a photo of the exact arrangement of toast that little Oscar didn't eat this morning? Not so much. 

What happened to team parent?

It seems counterproductive to lecture kids to take care of their social media accounts by avoiding sharing what they wouldn’t want a future employer to see, while we undo it all by bitching about them online.

According to a survey by the charity The Parent Zone, mums and dads will post 1,000 photos of their first child online by the time they’re five. From the ultrasound to their first day at pre-school, every moment is documented.

So, is the 15th post this week complaining about how your two-year-old didn't doesn't like broccoli or your teenager leaves plates in their room really necessary or interesting? What happened to parents supposed to be their kid’s biggest fan? 

Parents are a "safety net" 

"A parent that shames their child is violating all the basic tenants of what parenting is about,” parenting expert Dr Gail Gross told Parenting.com. "Parents are supposed to be their safety net."

Kids grow up...

We are starting to see the effects of "sharenting". One teenager is Austrian was so mortified by her parents’ posts that she sued them for infringing her privacy. 

“They knew no shame and no limits,” she told Austria’s Heute newspaper at the time. “They didn't care if I was sitting on the toilet or lying naked in the cot, every moment was photographed and made public.” 

So, maybe think before you post - even if it's just to avoid a court battle with your not-so-little-anymore terror. 

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