“No moral integrity”: Influencer sharenting and parental protective perception



Sharenting has been analyzed from different perspectives, introducing insights into the risks and opportunities of presenting children’s lives on social media. Researchers have addressed how this phenomenon impacts the lives of influencers, children, youth, and parents who engage in sharenting on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. From the perspective of “sharenters”, there is a common assumption that sharenting is not problematic, as they control and ensure the safety of children. However, some studies highlight the threats and consequences of this practice to the integrity of minors on the internet. In this paper, we analyze the perception of parents who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon of influencer sharenting on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, to understand their ethical concerns as seen from outside the communities of celebrity practices and their followers. Through a survey of 350 Ibero-American parents, we explored their opinions of this phenomenon, the reasons why they think influencers share their children’s lives, the potential risks, and whether there is a correlation between their use of social media and sharenting. Parents argued that there was a lack of moral integrity among influencers, and emphasized the importance of protecting children to avoid transforming them into promotional assets. We conclude that beyond the privacy policies of these platforms, further research should address how the unique affordances of these platforms impact children’s safety on the internet.


social media, parental mediation, digital children rights, micro-microcelebrity, online childhood, sharenting


ABIDIN, C. (2015). “Micromicrocelebrity: Branding babies on the Internet”. M/C Journal, 18 (5), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1022

ABIDIN, C. (2018). Internet celebrity: Understanding fame online. London: Emerald Publishing Limited.

AMMARI, T., KUMAR, P., LAMPE, C. and SCHOENEBECK, S. (2015). “Managing children’s online identities: How parents decide what to disclose about their children online”. In: Proceedings of the 33rd annual ACM conference on human factors in computing systems. New York: ACM, 1895-1904. https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702325

ATKINSON, R. and FLINT, J. (2001). “Accessing hidden and hard-to-reach populations: Snowball research strategies”. Social Research Update, 33, 1-4.

BADILLO-URQUIOLA, K., SMRITI, D., MCNALLY, B., GOLUB, E., BONSIGNORE, E. and WISNIEWSKI, P.J. (2019). “Stranger danger! Social media app features co-designed with children to keep them safe online”. In: Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, 394-406. https://doi.org/10.1145/3311927.3323133

BARASSI, V. (2020). “Datafied times: Surveillance capitalism, data technologies and the social construction of time in family life”. New Media & Society, 22 (9), 1545-1560. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820913573

BARNES, R. and POTTER, A. (2021). “‘Sharenting and parents’ digital literacy: An agenda for future research”. Communication Research and Practice, 7 (1), 6-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/22041451.2020.1847819

BLUM-ROSS, A. and LIVINGSTONE, S. (2017). “Sharenting: Parent blogging, and the boundaries of the digital self”. Popular Communication, 15 (2), 110-125. https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2016.1223300

BUCHANAN, R., SOUTHGATE, E., SMITH, S. P., MURRAY, T. and NOBLE, B. (2017). “Post no photos, leave no trace: Children’s digital footprint management strategies”. E-Learning and Digital Media, 14 (5), 275-290. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753017751711

CINO, D., DEMOZZI, S. and SUBRAHMANYAM, K. (2020). “Why post more pictures if no one is looking at them? Parents’ perception of the Facebook like in sharenting”. The Communication Review, 23 (2), 122-144. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714421.2020.1797434

CINO, D. (2022). “Beyond the surface: Sharenting as a source of family quandaries: Mapping parents’ social media dilemmas”. Western Journal of Communication, 86 (1), 128-153. https://doi.org/10.1080/10570314.2021.2020891

CHOI, G.Y. and LEWALLEN, J. (2017). “Say Instagram, Kids!: Examining sharenting and children’s digital representations on Instagram”. Howard Journal of Communication, 29 (9), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2017.1327380

DAMKJAER, M.S. (2018). “Sharenting = Good parenting? Four parental approaches to sharenting on Facebook”. In: G. MASCHERONI, C. PONTE and A. JORGE (eds.). Digital parenting. The challenges for families in the digital age. Göteborg: Nordicom, 209-218.

DE-VEIRMAN, M., HUDDERS, L. and NELSON, M.R. (2019). “What is influencer marketing and how does it target children? A review and direction for future research”. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2685. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02685

ELORRIAGA-ILLERA, A., MONGE-BENITO, S. and OLABARRI-FENÁNDEZ, E. (2022). The presence of minors in commercial content and its negative effect on audience: Sharenting and the youtuber Verdeliss. Icono14, 20 (1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.7195/ri14.v20i1.1752

FEIJOO, B., BUGUEÑO, S., SÁDABA, C. and GARCÍA-GONZÁLEZ, A. (2021). “Parents’ and children’s perception on social media advertising”. Comunicar, 67, 99-109. https://doi.org/10.3916/C67-2021-08

FOX, A.K. and HOY, M.G. (2019). “Smart devices, smart decisions? Implications of parents’ sharenting for children’s online privacy: An investigation of mothers”. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 38 (4), 414-432. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743915619858290

FOX, A.K., HOY, M.G. and CARTER, A.E. (2022). “An exploration of first-time dads’ sharenting with social media marketers: Implications for children’s online privacy”. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1080/10696679.2021.2024441

GARMENDIA, M., MARTÍNEZ, G. AND GARITAONANDIA, C. (2021). “Sharenting, parental mediation and privacy among Spanish children”. European Journal of Communication, 37 (2), 145-160. https://doi.org/10.1177/02673231211012146

GARRIDO, F., ÁLVAREZ, A., GONZÁLEZ-CABALLERO, J.L., GARCÍA, P., COUSO, B., IRISIO, I., MERINO, M., RAFFAELI, G., SANMIGUEL, P., ARRIBAS, C., VACAROAIA, A. and CAVALLARO, G. (2023). “Description of the exposure of the most-followed Spanish Instamoms’ children to social media”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 23 (3), 2426. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032426

HAYES, B., JAMES, A., BARN, R. and WATLING, W. (2022). “The world we live in now: A qualitative investigation into parents’, teachers’, and children’s perceptions of social networking site use”. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 92 (1), 340-363. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12452

HINOJO-LUCENA, F., AZNAR-DÍAZ, I., CÁCERES-RECHE, M., TRUJILLO-TORRES, J. and ROMERO-RODRÍGUEZ, J. (2020). “Sharenting: Internet addiction, self-control and online photos of underage children”. Comunicar, 64, 97-108. https://doi.org/10.3916/C64-2020-09

HOLLIDAY, J. (1964). “The exploratory study method: An aid to research design”. Nursing Research, 13 (1), 37-44. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006199-196401310-00008

HOOD, N. and TESAR, M. (2019). “Postdigital childhoods in the time of Anthropocene”. Postdigital Science and Education, 1, 307-310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-019-00062-x

JAMES, A. and PROUT, A. (2015). Constructing and reconstructing childhood. London: Routledge.

JANDRIĆ, P., KNOX, J., BESLEY, T., RYBERG, T., SUORANTA, J. and HAYES, S. (2018). “Postdigital science and education”. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 50 (10), 893-899. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2018.1454000

JORGE, A., MARÔPO, L. and NETO, F. (2022). “When you realise your dad is Cristiano Ronaldo’: Celebrity sharenting and children’s digital identities”. Information, Communication and Society, 25 (4), 516-535. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2022.2026996

KIDS DIGITAL MEDIA REPORT (2019). Kids digital media report 2019. [Date consulted: 06/02/23]. https://bit.ly/3gbgh2Q

LAVORGNA, A., UGWUDIKE, P. and TARTARI, M. (2023). “Online sharenting: Identifying existing vulnerabilities and demystifying media reported crime risks”. Crime Media Culture, 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1177/17416590221148448

LE-MOIGNAN, E., LAWSON, S., ROWLAND, D.A., MAHONEY, J. and BRIGGS, P. (2017). “Has Instagram fundamentally altered the “family snapshot”?” In: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. New York: ACM, 4935-4947. https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025928

LEAVER, T. (2017). “Intimate surveillance: Normalizing parental monitoring and mediation of infants online”. Social Media + Society, 3 (2). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305117707192

LEAVER, T. (2020). “Balancing privacy: Sharenting, intimate surveillance, and the right to be forgotten”. In: L. GREEN, D. HOLLOWAY, K. STEVENSON, T. LEAVER and L. HADDON (eds.). The Routledge companion to digital media and children. New York: Routledge, 235-244. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351004107-22

MARTÍN-RAMALLAL, P. and RUIZ-MONDAZA, M. (2022). “Child protection agents and social networks. The TikTok dilemma”. Mediterranean Journal of Communication, 13 (1), 31-49. https://doi.org/10.14198/MEDCOM.20776

MCROBERTS, S., BONSIGNORE, E., PEYTON, T. and YAROSH, S. (2016). “Do it for the viewers!: Audience engagements behaviors of young YouTubers”. In: Proceedings of the The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children. New York: IDC, 334-343. https://doi.org/10.1145/2930674.2930676

OFCOM (2022). Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. London, UK: Ofcom. [Date consulted: 06/02/23]. https://bit.ly/3Upo2no

OMAR, B. and WANG, D. (2020). “Watch, share or create: The influence of personality traits and user motivation on TikTok mobile video usage”. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 14 (4), 121-137. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijim.v14i04.12429

RANZINI, G., NEWLANDS, G. and LUTZ, C. (2020). “Sharenting, peer influence, and privacy concerns: A study on the Instagram-sharing behaviors of parents in the United Kingdom”. Social Media + Society, 6 (4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120978376

SARKADI, A., DAHLBERG, A., FÄNGSTRÖM, K. and WARNER, G. (2020). “Children want parents to ask for permission before ‘sharenting’”. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 56 (6), 981-983. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.14945

STEINBERG, L., GRAHAM, S., O’BRIEN, L., WOOLARD, J., CAUFFMAN, E. and BANICH, M. (2009). “Age differences in future orientation and delay discounting”. Child Development, 80, 28-44. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01244.x

STOILOVA, M., LIVINGSTONE, S. and KHAZBAK, R. (2021). Investigating risks and opportunities for children in a digital world: A rapid review of the evidence on children’s internet use and outcomes. Florence: UNICEF.

TESAR, M. (2016). “Timing childhoods: An alternative reading of children’s development through philosophy of time, temporality, place and space”. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 17 (4), 399-408. https://doi.org/10.1177/1463949116677924

TESAR, M. and HOOD, N. (2019). “Policy in the time of Anthropocene: Children, childhoods and digital worlds”. Policy Futures in Education, 13 (2), 102-104. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210319831830

TIIDENBERG, K. and BAYM, N.K. (2017). “Learn it, buy it, work it: Intensive pregnancy on Instagram”. Social Media + Society, 3 (1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305116685108

VERSWIJVEL, K., WALRAVE, M., HARDIES, K. and HERIMAN, W. (2019). “Sharenting, is it a good or a bad thing? Understanding how adolescents think and feel about sharenting on social network sites”. Children and Youth Services Review, 104, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104401

VIZCAÍNO-VERDÚ, A. and AGUADED, I. (2020). “Análisis de sentimiento en Instagram: Polaridad y subjetividad de cuentas infantiles”. ZER, 25 (48), 213-229. https://doi.org/10.1387/zer.21454

VIZCAÍNO-VERDÚ, A., DE-CASAS-MORENO, P. and JARAMILLO-DENT, D. (2022). “Thanks for joining our life: Intimacy as performativity on YouTube parenting vlogs”. Profesional de la Información, 31 (4), e310407. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.jul.07




Download data is not yet available.