ThinkstockPhotos 831013334

Parental Paparazzi

The most popular people on Facebook and Instagram aren’t celebrities and athletes—they’re kids. Photos and videos of children dominate social media feeds as proud parents show the world their cute babies with just a few clicks. Online retailer Mac & Mia surveyed 2,000 new parents to see how they used social media after the birth of their children and found more people turned into “parental paparazzi” than originally thought.

Before having children, 24 per cent of people believed they would never post baby photos, and 18 per cent even admitted to feeling annoyed when their friends posted those pictures online. Only 31 per cent optimistically said they looked forward to posting photos of their future children.

Much like newborns, parenting ideas change quickly. The fact is that 45 per cent of respondents actually post more on social media since having children. More than half of the respondents said they posted the sonogram to social media, and another 55 per cent said they posted photos of their baby shower celebrations.

 It’s no surprise that when the big day comes, a whopping 73 per cent of parents post pictures of their newborn babies online. After all, social media is the fastest way to announce life changing news to friends and family. Once that initial photograph goes up on a feed, nearly three-quarters of parents say they continue with monthly photoshoots to show their baby’s progress.

Hence, parental paparazzi. The social media platform of choice for most shutterbug parents, by and large, is Facebook. The majority of respondents say they like to share photo updates of their little ones on Facebook because it’s easier to connect with family and friends, while 13 per cent admit they post because it’s fun to show off their baby.

 With photos, comes competition. Another 20 per cent of respondents admit to feeling competitive with their baby posts on social media. But how much is too much?

Some parents surveyed expressed concern about sharing too much of their child’s life on social media. Roughly 60 per cent of couples say they have discussed rules and boundaries for posting their baby’s photos, and only 20 per cent actually post those on public accounts. In fact, 36 per cent of parents say they find issue with other people posting photos of their child online. When asked, just more than half of respondents said they would ask for images posted without their permission to be deleted.

Generation Z may be the first generation whose lives are digitally documented. This survey found that some parents go so far as to set up digital markers for their children, such as domain name (5 per cent), a social media account (9 per cent) or even a personalized hashtag (12 per cent). As the kids grow up, frequency of parental paparazzi posting online drops quickly—less than half of parents claim to post less once their child reaches their second birthday.

On average, most parents will post about their child until they turn 11-years old. Sorry, Mom and Dad, after that it’s time to let the kids figure out their own relationship with online sharing.