Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Among the many concerns of social media, “sharenting,” or parents oversharing about their children online, is becoming increasingly prevalent. Millions of children are growing up on the internet with little-to-no control of their digital narrative, instead becoming fashionable or even lucrative props on their parent’s social media platforms. The purpose of the study was to explore how much and what type of sharenting parents post on social media. This study explores five key elements of sharenting through a content analysis. Researchers coded 10 Instagram mom meso-influencer accounts within a 30-day timeframe and determined how many posts were embarrassing, intrusive, revealing, child sponsorship, or personally identifiable information. Over half of all content coded was coded as sharenting. Researchers found that individually, over half of almost every meso-influencers’ content was coded as sharenting, albeit outliers. The most frequently seen type of sharenting was not one of the five key elements. Instead, the existence of more than one element was observed most frequently among posts. In conclusion, social media users should be cognizant of how widespread sharenting is throughout various corners of Instagram and other platforms. From a communication ethics standpoint, users are recommended to proceed with caution before engaging with sharenting content due to its dehumanizing nature.


Winner of the 2021 Prindle Prize for Ethics in a Thesis.

Included in

Social Media Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.