Every day, alongside pictures of cats and food, many mothers take to social media with photos and status updates celebrating the lives of their children. The term “sharenting” neatly captures this activity. These posts can be seen as moments of pride, but there has been criticism of the frequency of these parental status updates.
Research shows it is mothers who post more information about their children on social media – particularly when it comes to family photos. It’s also mothers who are largely the focus of disapproval and judgement for their sharenting.
Sharenting has also been heavily criticised as a form of digital narcissism. But more than this, it is also seen as one long parental “humblebrag”, defined as: “An ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” Here’s an example from an article in the Huffington Post:
Tripped over on my way home from collecting Jemima from her GRADE SEVEN cello exam. What an idiot.
The link between humblebragging and pride suggests that parents – and mothers in particular – face a real ethical struggle when posting about their children and families online. While pride can take on both positive and negative connotations, it’s also an emotion associated with “good” parenting. Research shows that expressions of parental pride are associated with the moral development of children, and on good-quality child raising – upon which childhood outcomes depend.