Facebook sharenting in mothers of young children: The risks are worth it but only for some.
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Sharenting, or sharing information of children by parents on social media sites, has received much media attention. While offering many benefits, it may also contain risks. The present study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate how understanding of risks and benefits alongside psychosocial variables affected the Facebook sharenting behavior of 190 mothers with young children. Findings reveal that awareness of risks was associated with a decrease in posting frequency, although most still chose to share sensitive information such as pictures and activity information. Furthermore, mothers chose to focus on unlikely safeguarding concerns rather than long-term repercussions such as identity fraud or right to digital privacy. Negative experiences on social media were not associated with reduced posting. This result is particularly important given that perception of most risks outweighed the benefits. Psychosocial factors such as social anxiety may help explain why despite harboring important privacy concerns parents continue to share sensitive information. Future research should focus on highlighting long-term repercussions in this parent population and theoretical work could benefit from incorporating an understanding of how psychological factors motivate and impact this behavior.
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