Every Facebook user has at least one friend who we consider an “oversharer.” We all have a Facebook friend who posts just a little too much about their day-to-day routine, or worse, their personal woes and struggles. While it is nice to log-on and see how our friends are, the effects of oversharing are starting to become more significant as more people become members of social media outlets.
The number of children using Facebook has risen dramatically as the social media giant has grown over the years. Users have to be 13 years of age or older in order to join, but there are some users that are even younger than that. Parents can only control so much of what their children post, who they friend, and how they will communicate once online.
There are no parental controls on Facebook, only privacy settings that ensure that the wrong people are not seeing your child’s profile. That is not to say that children who are old enough to use social media should not be able to, with appropriate supervision. There are a lot of things parents should consider when allowing their children to join the social media world. What a child of 13 years posts today could affect them 10 years from now with a potential employer.
Parents have also created a new method of oversharing, which was coined “oversharenting.” Parents have taken social media and made it a platform to post some too-personal pictures or statuses. They allow their child’s life to be tracked on the internet, and the child has no control about how much of their life is exposed before they can even consent to it. Once pictures and statuses are put up on Facebook, or other social media, it has the possibility of copied, altered, and remains on the internet forever. These children cannot decide if they want to be all over the internet. Parents make it their personal diaries for some of their child’s day-to-day activities or failures, which takes away from the privacy families use to have about these small details in their home life.
Social media is not all bad, but we really do have to stop and consider how we are using it to represent ourselves. Although social media does not define you, it does reflect a certain side of you that you want the world to see. With additions like Timeline on Facebook, it is easier now than ever to go back and see what a user said years ago. A person could overshare something now, and regret it five years later.
Future generations have to be prepared to handle the consequences of what can occur with social media saturation. Right now, you can check in on Foursquare, tweet on Twitter, give your location on Path, take a picture with Instagram, update your status on Facebook, and then go blog about all that on Tumblr. There will be more as time goes on. Parents and children will have to learn to be more cautious about what they share and how it will affect them in the years to come.