The Privacy Paradox by Proxy: Considering Predictors of Sharenting

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

The Privacy Paradox by Proxy: Considering Predictors of Sharenting


  • Niamh Ní Bhroin Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Thuy Dinh Centre for Social and Educational Research, Technological University Dublin, Ireland
  • Kira Thiel Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut, Germany
  • Claudia Lampert Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut, Germany
  • Elisabeth Staksrud Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Kjartan Ólafsson Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway


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Abstract:  Despite being worried that children may compromise their privacy by disclosing too much personal data online, many parents paradoxically share pictures and information about their children themselves, a practice called sharenting. In this article we utilise data from the EU Kids Online survey to investigate this paradox. We examine both how individual characteristics such as demographics and digital skills, and relational factors, including parental mediation styles, concerns about children’s privacy, and communication between parents and children influence sharenting practices. Counter-intuitively, our findings show that parents with higher levels of digital skills are more likely to engage in sharenting. Furthermore, parents who actively mediate their children’s use of the internet and are more concerned about the privacy of their children, are also more likely to engage in sharenting. At the same time, and further emphasising the complexities of this relational practice, many parents do not ask for their children’s consent in advance of sharing information about them. Overall, parents seem to consider the social benefits of sharenting to outweigh the potential risks both for themselves and for their children. Given the paradoxical complexities of sharenting practices, we propose further research is required to distinguish between different kinds of sharenting and their potential implications for children and young people’s right to privacy.

Keywords:  children online; children’s digital rights; Europe; parental mediation; privacy paradox; sharenting

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v10i1.4858


© Niamh Ní Bhroin, Thuy Dinh, Kira Thiel, Claudia Lampert, Elisabeth Staksrud, Kjartan Ólafsson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.