Parents often share photos and stories of their children online. It can be a way to express adoration for their children and to connect with distant loved ones. This practice now has a name: sharenting.
But just as there is over-sharing, there is over-sharenting. Sometimes a parent’s post of their child can be embarrassing or inappropriate. These posts may even violate the child’s privacy, putting photos or stories on the internet that the child may not want there. Every mention of a person on social media, even childhood photos, shapes their digital footprint—the image of a person formed by online data that can persist indefinitely. Sharenting has the potential to harm or help this image.
In the spring of 2020, three Cornell undergrads, Sterling Williams-Ceci ’21, Annika Pinch ’20, and Gillian Grose ’20, decided that they wanted to bring more awareness to sharenting. It was a choice that ended up defining the next step in each of their academic careers.