I resist sharenting on social media. Does that mean my son and I are missing out, or is it just safer? | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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Posting can turn into a privacy risk – and in a changing online landscape, it’s become another parental identity marker

An old friend asked me recently why I never put my son’s face online. “Can you explain the not showing pics of babies thing to me?” she asked. “Everyone our age seems to obscure their baby’s face with emojis. I feel as if I’ve missed a key essay on the morality of baby pic social media publication.”

I don’t do the emoji thing – in fact I’ve even stopped showing the back of his head, or any aspect of his home life, really – but I know what she means. A few years ago, sharenting, as it’s been called, felt like the norm among my social circle. These days I see far fewer babies’ faces on social media. Concerns about online privacy and safeguarding, as well as facial recognition and the commercial use of personal data, are far more prevalent than they were in the early days of Facebook. In fact, you could say that whether or not you share photos has become another parental identity marker, up there with breastfeeding, cloth nappies and baby-led weaning as evidence that you’re doing things “the right way”, not like “those other parents”.

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