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What Is ‘Sharenting’ & What Is the Psychology Behind It?

In the age of the internet, where oversharing is practically a pastime, ‘sharenting’ is a term that has emerged as a fascinating and somewhat polarizing phenomenon. Coined in 2010, ‘sharenting’ refers to that point in a parent’s life when they just can not resist talking about their kids online. It is like the digital baby book of the 21st century – but with an audience of hundreds, if not thousands, of friends and followers.

What Is ‘Sharenting?’

Before we get into the psychology behind it, let’s first understand what ‘sharenting’ is all about. Picture this: A new mom, sleep-deprived but beaming with joy, decides to share her baby’s first smile on Instagram.

Andrea / Pexels / Connection is the only psychology behind ‘sharenting.’ In other words, parents find that connection when they talk about their kids on social media.

A dad proudly posts a snapshot of his toddler taking their first steps on Facebook. These are classic examples of ‘sharenting’ moments. Thus, it is a digital scrapbook, a virtual diary, and a support group all rolled into one.

Now, you might wonder, what’s so wrong about sharing these adorable milestones online? After all, aren’t these moments meant to be celebrated with friends and family? Well, you’re right, but it’s the frequency, extent, and underlying psychology that make ‘sharenting’ a fascinating subject to explore.

The Psychology of Connection

At the heart of ‘sharenting’ is the psychology of connection. In other words, parents find that connection when they talk about their kids on social media. However, it is not just about showing off or seeking validation (though that can play a part). Instead, it is about building a sense of community in the digital age.

Ketut / Pexels / As parents share their parenting stories, they feel relieved as other parents resonate with their kids’ stories.

Parents today often find themselves navigating the turbulent waters of parenthood in a world vastly different from the one their parents knew. Grandparents might not always be around to offer sage advice, and the village that once helped raise a child has now dispersed across the globe.

In this context, social media becomes the modern-day village square where parents come to share their parenting stories, seek advice, and find solace in the fact that they are not alone.

The Validation Factor

While connecting with others is undoubtedly a driving force behind ‘sharenting,’ let’s not underestimate the validation factor. Picture this scenario: A mom posts a photo of her child’s science fair project, and it garners dozens of likes and comments praising the child’s creativity.

In that moment, the parent feels validated, as if they have done a great job in nurturing their child’s talents.

Andrae / Pexels / As parents ‘sharent,’ they get validations and feedback from fellow parents on social media.

Social media platforms have a knack for turning everyday moments into grand celebrations. A simple picture of a child’s first day of school can become a viral hit. The rush of positive feedback can boost a parent’s self-esteem. Plus, it can reinforce the belief that they are doing a good job as a parent.

Thus, it is like receiving a gold star on a report card, but on a much larger scale.

While ‘sharenting’ can offer parents a sense of connection and validation, it is not without its perils. Oversharing can sometimes blur the line between a child’s public and private life. The child, too young to consent, may one day grow up and wonder why their entire childhood is plastered across the internet for the world to see.

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