Facebook has come under fire from parents who say it’s giving kids too much power to decide what they want to share with their friends.
A survey of parents by parenting website Parentalista found that parents were increasingly using Facebook to socialise with their children.
“What I saw on Facebook was that they were constantly sharing pictures of their kids with their buddies, or making comments to friends about their kids, and they were posting pictures of themselves with their kids,” mother-of-three Amanda Smith told the ABC.
“And it was like a real social media world that I wasn’t really used to.”
I was starting to think I didn’t really have any control over how my children would interact with each other and I wasn to blame for what I was seeing.
“When I first started my Facebook account, it was very personal and very intimate.”
Ms Smith is one of the parents who used Facebook to send their children pictures of the family holiday to New Zealand, where her husband is stationed.
“They were so excited to see my husband because they didn’t want to go to Australia,” she said.
“So when they saw me sharing my family holiday, I was like, ‘What are you doing?!'”
“And I had to be told to delete it.”
The study also found that about 20 per cent of parents said they had lost control over what their children see and post.
“The amount of control that parents are giving their kids is completely wrong,” Dr Toni Leckie from the University of New South Wales said.
Dr Leckies research has shown that the more people see something, the more they share it.
“If you want to get into a discussion, you can ask your friends and they will answer,” she told 7.30.
“You can ask a friend if he likes your hair or what his favourite food is, and you can also say to them, ‘I like this one too’.”
But there is one important distinction between sharing and commenting on an image.
“An image is a social media post and a comment is a phone call,” Dr Leckys said.
She said it was important to balance privacy and control, but added that parents should be mindful of what they share.
“There’s no doubt that a parent has a right to control what their child sees and what they post,” she explained.
“But I think we also need to be mindful that if we are sharing our child’s life and they are sharing their own life, it’s a bit of a grey area.”
“It’s not like, if we don’t want your child to be able to go and see the beaches, or you don’t have a car, that we can’t have you use your phone to drive to your beach.”
The ABC’s Adrienne Walser contributed to this report.