Kids don’t like it when parents share too much about them on social media, study finds



    For many families, technology and social media represent a new frontier with rapidly evolving norms and expectations.

    And a new study shows that while kids and parents mostly agree on how and when to use devices, they disagree on one big point.

    Of the 249 child-parent pairs who were surveyed, kids were twice as likely to report that they didn’t want their parents to overshare about them online. Specifically, the kids didn’t want their parents posting about them on social media without permission.

    Alexis Hiniker, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, led the research. It’s not necessarily the case that kids are getting upset with their parents about oversharing, she said, but “it’s certainly the case that children are very sensitive to this practice, so I think it’s good to be mindful of it.”

    While Hiniker isn’t sure exactly why kids feel this way, she noted that other research has shown children tend to develop codes with their peers about how to use social media.

    “Friend groups will enact kind of unofficial contracts, where they’ll say, you know, I won’t post about you without asking, and I want you not to post about me without asking,” she said.

    The biggest takeaway, according to Hiniker, is that family members across the generations value disconnecting from their digital devices to simply be together.

    Both also reported that if a kid has to unplug at the dinner table, then a parent should, too.


    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal