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Grandsharenting: The problem when grandparents go rogue on social media.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and for many lucky families, that includes the involvement of wise, experienced, and loving grandparents.

But what happens when the grandies go rogue when they are unsupervised with the kids? They can buy unnecessary, expensive toys, allow the kids to stock up on sugary treats, and indulge them in enough screen time to earn them the title of Best Grandparent Ever.

Side note… Julia Roberts, Michelle Obama and many other celebrities share their thoughts on parenting. Post continues below.

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Fair enough. That’s part of grandparenting, right?

But recently, another problem has been emerging: Grandsharenting. It’s the term used to describe when grandparents post pictures of their grandkids on social media, often without anyone’s consent.

It sounds innocent enough, and a move generally motivated by love and pride, which is why it’s not an issue to some. But it is problematic in many families, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

Some parents feel grandparents don’t have a right to share photos of their kids without asking – that they are not entitled to do so – and that their views on privacy and control over their child’s image are not respected.

We spoke to a number of parents about the issues grandsharenting has caused in their homes. All names have been changed by request, because no one wants to publicly hurt well-intentioned grandparents.

Bianca – ultrasound photo

“I have issues with this with my mum. She shared a photo of my 12-week ultrasound on Facebook before I had even told my brothers the news.

“She also posted my daughter’s passport photo on Facebook which made me very concerned for identity theft. I am very private and rarely share any photos of my daughter as I worry that they are permanent.

“It affected our relationship because I stopped sending her any photos of my daughter as I didn’t want them on her Facebook which hurt her feelings. Her profile is public and I do not know most of the friends she has.

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“Once I was in a cafe and someone approached me saying they worked with my mum and recognised my daughter. Now I just send photos and say with each one… no Facebook, please.

“Her profile picture is of my daughter. I feel guilty as I know she is proud and adores my daughter so I don’t want to take that away from her.”

Chelsea – baby bump photo

“When I was eight months pregnant, I shared a bump selfie photo on my Facebook counting down the weeks. Scrolling through Facebook later that day, I was confused to see my photo in my feed.

“On closer inspection, I realised my mother-in-law had copied (not shared) my photo and posted it and captioned it something like, ‘that little bump is my grandson who I’ll meet soon.’

“She didn’t even acknowledge me, you know the lady in the photo. I felt really uncomfortable about it but said nothing to keep the peace. But I laid VERY strict guidelines about no one posting photos of my son on Facebook from then on.”

On our parenting podcast This Glorious Mess, hosts Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo explore: What do you do if your mother-in-law’s a great babysitter, but she’s way too generous with the junk food? Post continues below.

Mariah – birth announcement

“My mother-in-law announced the birth of my second child on Facebook accompanied with a half-naked pic with bub on my boob my husband had sent her without me even knowing.

“This occurred an hour after the birth. Needless to say, she was asked to remove said post.

“I prefer to keep the majority of my parenting milestones semi-private and I find my MIL loves to share everything any chance she gets. Sometimes I feel pressured to ‘get in first’ to be the one sharing about my kids so she can’t do it first.

“And when I do share milestones, she will be sure to follow with her own post too. I appreciate how proud she is, but she needs to learn to stay in her own lane!”

Jessica – baby’s own Facebook profile

“I have a friend whose in-laws created a Facebook profile for her newborn and started tagging photos before she was even out of the delivery suite.

“They said it was a private profile – it wasn’t. They stuffed it up and it was all public.

“Her newborn son came up as a suggested friend for me the same day he was born, even though my friend didn’t even have Facebook.

“The in-laws also linked it to my friend’s mobile number and email address which they thought was being considerate, but it created a digital trail that she has been trying to avoid for years by not being on Facebook.

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“That generation just do not get it. In the future, your digital footprint and history will impact on every part of your life.

“We believe our children should have the power to shape their own digital history, rather than us or anyone else haphazardly linking things to them before they are old enough to have a say.”

Kristina – Christmas newsletter

“My parents send a Christmas email to their friends and even business associates. These days, it’s mostly about the grandkids, whom they’re super proud of.

“But it makes my husband and I so uncomfortable – it’s such personal information and photos, too.

“We’ve had lots of arguments with them about it. They don’t get how an email is different from a hardcopy newsletter, and that these days, the kids should be in a position to consent.”

Naomi – tagging photos

“James had to ask his grandma to take down a photo she’d put on Facebook because she’d tagged him in it – so it came up in all his friends’ newsfeeds. He’s 11 and has a right to say what images go online, and she just didn’t accept that.

“But she did take it down after we all backed him.”

Do you have your own story about ‘grandsharenting’? Share yours in the comments below.

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