Most teenagers today have to live with a fear generations of the past never had to contend with — the day their parent sends them a friend request on Facebook. The typical parent loves to talk about their child, engage in their life as a confidant, and become a member of their inner circle. It’s why a national poll from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has coined the new term “sharenting,” the social media violation parents continue to commit with a simple keystroke and click.

“These networks bring parents together in ways that weren’t possible before, allowing them to commiserate, trade tips and advice, share pride for milestones and reassure one another that they’re not alone,” Clark said. “However, there’s potential for the line between sharing and oversharing to get blurred. Parents may share information that their child finds embarrassing or too personal when they’re older, but once it’s out there, it’s hard to undo. The child won’t have much control over where it ends up or who sees it.”

The poll stretched across the country, asking parents about their social media behavior to determine if it crosses over into the categorical oversharing parent. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve likely seen it—parents posting pictures of babies’ first ice cream cone, videos of kids throwing endearing tantrums, and statuses documenting everything from fun to frustration.

The university’s findings indicate the trend will likely last, considering more than half of the mothers and one-third of the fathers that were surveyed say social media makes them “feel less alone.” But their need to connect to the world through the wires of their keyboard affects their children whether they've already got their own Facebook or Instagram account, or if they're too young to experience the effects yet. Instead, they'll grow up with a whole digital world waiting for them, a world that's already seen their first baby pictures, read about their tooth fairy visits, and have ultimately watched them grow up on their computer screen.

“By the time children are old enough to use social media themselves many already have a digital identity created for them by their parents,” research scientist in the U-M Department of Pediatrics Sarah J. Clark, associate director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, said in a press release. “Sharing the joys and challenges of parenthood and documenting children’s lives publicly has become a social norm, so we wanted to better understand the benefits and cons of these experiences. On one hand, social media offers today’s parents an outlet they find incredibly useful. On the other hand, some are concerned that oversharing may pose safety and privacy risks for their children.”

Sharenting poll results found 28 percent of parents discuss trying to get their kids to sleep, 26 percent share advice on nutrition and eating tips, 19 percent on discipline, 17 percent of daycare or preschool, and 13 percent posting about behavior problems. Now, while most parents were posting without a care in the world about the future repercussions that come with the click of a mouse, more than half of parents were worried when their child grows up, they could become embarrassed by what their mom or dad shared online without their infantile permission. Nearly two-thirds of parents had a more serious concern, regarding fear that someone could learn private information or share photos of their child.

“Parents are responsible for their child’s privacy and need to be thoughtful about how much they share on social media, so they can enjoy the benefits of camaraderie but also protect their children’s privacy today and in the future,” Clark said.

In a way, it’s become cathartic for parents to empty out their emotions on their child’s most recent hissy fit, but in another instance they need to strike a balance. Social media websites like Facebook are open to as many people as you want it to be, but that doesn’t mean your coworker needs to know there’s someone babysitting your child tonight, and your neighbor doesn’t need to know if his grades are up to par with your standards. Some things should remain private in this ostensibly secure and socially tangled world.

Source: Clark SJ, Davis MM, Singer DC, Matos-Moreno A, Kauffman AD, and Hale K. Parents on social media: Likes and dislikes of sharenting. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll. 2015.