The term “sharenting” has been coined to describe the practice of parents posting photos, videos, and other private information about their children on social media. With the drastic growth in popularity of social media in the preceding years, sharenting has become standard practice for some. However, sharenting can become an issue for parents going through divorce or custody proceedings in ways they may not expect. For example, an innocent first day of school photo posted by one parent detailing the child’s name, her school, and her current grade may be presented by the other parent as a careless act of revealing the child’s name and location to strangers online. Additionally, consistently posting photos of children can be risky as it opens the door to identity theft and, even worse, exposes them to online predators, which could be used as ammunition against a parent in a heavily contested fight for parenting time.

The most effective way to avoid the negative effects of sharenting in a custody case is to abstain from posting your child on social media. However, if you do decide to sharent, there are steps you can take to minimize risks. First, keep all accounts private and limit to only close friends and family. Ensure that you are protecting your child by hiding their face in photos, referring to them by a nickname, turning your location off on social media, and refraining from posting any sensitive information about your child such as their age and their school. Even following these steps, parents experiencing divorce or custody issues may still encounter disagreements regarding how much sharenting is permissible, if any. In these cases, the best practice is to advance the discussion around sharenting with your co-parent and set a roadmap agreement reflecting the terms of your discussion.

Morgan L. Stogsdill, Partner

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