Navigating Parenthood Online: Understanding the Complex Dynamics of Sharenting Practices


  • Beata Jungselius School of Business, Economics and IT, University West
  • Maja Fröjelin University West, School of Business, Economics, and IT, Trollhättan, Sweden
  • Sebastian Johansson University West, School of Business, Economics, and IT, Trollhättan, Sweden



sharenting, social media use, social media practices, idioms of practice, social media dilemmas


In this paper, we focus on the increasingly central visual aspects of documenting and sharing family life as we examine how parents reflect upon “sharenting”, i.e. sharing representations of family life in social media. The aim of this paper is to contribute with an empirically supported understanding of activities involved in the social practice of sharenting. We ask: “What activities constitute the practice of sharenting and how do parents perceive, experience, and manage sharenting?” and focus on how parents engage in sharenting and how they experience and manage questions and concerns that occur as they share, and do not share, pictures of their children in social media. We draw upon a thematic analysis of twelve semi-structured in-depth interviews with parents of at least one child in the age of 1-10. Based on our data and in relation to previous research we unpack ambiguous and multifaceted reasonings on sharenting as a complex social media practice. Through rich descriptions and empirical detail, we provide knowledge on key activities involved in sharenting, and present findings following three themes: unforeseeable consequences of sharenting, social media dilemmas of sharenting and strategies for managing sharenting. Lastly, we show how these activities represent expressions of agreed upon idioms of the practice of sharenting and discuss the interplay between contemporary social photography, ICT, and family life. Increased access to, and use of ICT such as smartphones with built-in advanced cameras, leads us to believe that the practice of visually representing family life in a contemporary context comes with a new set of challenges for parents. As the social media landscape is constantly evolving, social media practices, such as sharenting, must be continuously studied to ensure the understanding needed to inform future design, policy, and regulation. This paper present illustrative examples of how this community adopt, make, and negotiate use of social media and the possibilities these ICTs afford.

Author Biography

Beata Jungselius, School of Business, Economics and IT, University West

Beata Jungselius (Ph.D., University of Gothenburg) is an Assistant Professor of Informatics at University West, School of Business, Economics, and IT. Her research interests include social media use, digital communication, and technology-mediated interaction.