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Why Parents Share Pictures Online

Snuggling with my "baby."

Snuggling with my “baby.”

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When a woman becomes a mother, it often changes the way she defines herself.¬† That may be one reason why so many women chose to post so many pictures of their kids on social media sites. It’s the topic of a study, just published by a University of Michigan graduate student, looking at new mothers decisions to share baby pictures on line.
The study found that it’s not typically an attempt to get a child into the spotlight, but rather to communicate what was most important in a woman’s life.
One of the study participants says¬† “being a mother became, ‘a central focus for my identity….I like showcasing that…He represents me right now. You know, he represents what makes me the happiest, what my daily life is all about.'”
Another study participant “called herself, ‘that mom that if my profile picture isn’t of my baby, I have to have him up somewhere. Or else I feel like a failure.’ She felt the Facebook profile and cover pictures were supposed to represent what was most important to someone, and for her, that included her son.”
Other reasons for posting, according to the study, included keeping long-distance family and friends connected and receiving feedback from others. That may be why most parents in the study did not post photos showing negative moments, in addition to the fact that the pictures they shared could shape how others viewed their children.
The author, Priya Kumar, says many mothers can benefit from sharing pictures of their kids because it provides another level of social and emotional support. She adds The study could be used to better understand how online photo sharing could open the door to examining the relationship a mother has with her child.
You can read the entire study here.