The Curse of 'Oversharenting': Parents, Friends Squabble Over Kid Updates on Social Media

Mommy blogger and clinical psychologist Samantha Rodman is shown here snapping a photo of her kids during an interview with "Nightline."PlayABC News
WATCH Parents, Friends Grapple with Social Media Struggle of 'Oversharenting'

Seems like everyone’s social media feeds are full of those parents who overshare, capturing their child’s every meal, every outfit, every moment, from bath time to spit-up to #unfiltered potty pics.

Nothing seems off-limits for those who are “oversharenting.”

But now one new mom is paying the price for what one friend called a “running commentary” of her young daughter’s life.

“I’ve posted a lot of pictures of her hitting milestones, and just when she wears cute outfits,” Jade Ruthven said.

Ruthven didn’t give all the photos she was sharing a second thought, until she received a letter in the mail that slammed her for oversharing and told her to stop posting photos and updates. “She crawls off the mat, we don’t care,” and “She’s 6 months old, big deal,” are just some of what the letter said.

“I was shocked,” Ruthven said. “I felt like I was being bullied and mommy-shamed and I second-guessed myself and thought, 'am I being a bad mom for posting all these pictures of my daughter on Facebook?'”

Ruthven is not alone. Social media is flooded with proud parent photos, marking milestones online with hastags like #pottytraining and #firststeps.

Author and mommy blogger Sarah Maizes said her bathtub babies are now temperamental teenagers, and she now regrets some of the posts she made about her children years ago. As a mommy blogger, Maizes said she wrote about things her kids did when they were little, and then when they got to middle school and started Googling themselves, her kids were mortified by what they found.

Now, Maizes said she doesn’t share as much about her kids’ daily lives as she used to, and she has her kids approve everything she posts online.

Mommy blogger and clinical psychologist Samantha Rodman said this is just one way social media is transforming parenting.

“It’s a really easy way to stay connected with people and see their kids grow up and to see what they’re doing,” Rodman said. “People don’t have that much time in their day between working, parenting, and marriage whatever, to stay in constant contact with friends.”

She posts photos of her three kids daily to thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“I don’t think very deeply before I post anything just as long it’s just a cute picture of my child. I figure I could just upload it,” Rodman said. “Even if someone posts 25 pictures a day of their kids I don’t think it’s bad. If nobody wants to see it they don’t have to see it.”

Ericka Sóuter, an editor in the news division of CafeMom, a social networking website for mothers, said sharing those little moments can make mothers feel proud, and can provide insight into what parenting actually looks like.

“It’s this messy, fun crazy world,” she said. “Embrace your crazy because every mom will tell you it’s crazy.”

But Blair Koenig said she doesn’t want to see it and she shouldn’t have to.

“I have seen everything you can imagine,” Koenig said. “Pictorials of child birth, like 25 pictures of a C-section and sometimes people will eat their placenta and sometimes they will post videos or photos.”

The anti-oversharenting crusader started her blog, “STFU, Parents,” after she got fed up with her friends’ constant updates.

“My feed was like 13 updates in a single day of a baby's fever going up or down or having to change the baby and having to feed the baby, and it just seemed like a lot of information that was not really necessary,” Koenig said.

“A lot of it stems from I think from narcissism, some of it also stems from wanting to commiserate,” she added.

Koenig said there is a fine line between keeping your close friends and family up-to-date on your little one, and going too far.

“I don’t really think everybody needs to know about a child using the bathroom, but at the same time if you want to post about it maybe just sort of hold the reins,” she said.

Blogger Sarah Maizes agrees that sometimes, less is more – those bathtub babies will one day grow up to become temperamental teenagers. Maizes says she now regrets some of her years-old posts about her children.

“Before you post a photo of your child in a poopy diaper, take a moment and realize they are going to see it,” Maizes said.

Maizes says she now regrets some of her years-old posts about her children.

As for Jade Ruthven, her baby updates are still going strong. Parents from across the globe have sent her messages of support since she first talked about the letter.

“I went back on the computer and was posting more, more pictures than ever,” she said. “Little did I know that it would go all around the world.”