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From the Cradle to the Web: The Growth of “Sharenting”—A Scientometric Perspective

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“Sharenting” is an internet trend in which parents report detailed information or repeatedly post pictures, videos, and other content about their children on social media. Due to the duality of sharenting, which takes place online but has offline consequences, it is essential to understand the implications of sharenting for real-world parenting and child development. The present work analyzes references in the existing literature and links among published articles to better understand sharenting, evidence for it, and major topics associated with it and to uncover the gaps in the literature. Citation analysis of the current literature mainly focuses on risks and benefits related to sharenting practices, especially for the children, and on ethical and privacy concerns. Future studies should investigate the psychological mechanisms that drive sharenting-related behaviors in parents and multidisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon. With a broader perspective on these issues, practitioners and professionals in family studies will be able to delineate guidelines for informative interventions to increase awarenes about the causes and consequences of publicly sharing child content.
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Review Article
From the Cradle to the Web: The Growth of Sharenting”—A
Scientometric Perspective
Ilaria Cataldo ,
1
An An Lieu,
2
Alessandro Carollo ,
1
Marc H. Bornstein ,
3,4,5
Giulio Gabrieli ,
2
Albert Lee,
2
and Gianluca Esposito
1
1
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy
2
Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore
3
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
4
United Nations Childrens Fund, New York, New York, USA
5
Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK
Correspondence should be addressed to Ilaria Cataldo; ilaria.cataldo@unitn.it
Received 8 December 2021; Revised 10 February 2022; Accepted 24 March 2022; Published 7 April 2022
Academic Editor: Zheng Yan
Copyright © 2022 Ilaria Cataldo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sharentingis an internet trend in which parents report detailed information or repeatedly post pictures, videos, and other
content about their children on social media. Due to the duality of sharenting, which takes place online but has oine
consequences, it is essential to understand the implications of sharenting for real-world parenting and child development. The
present work analyzes references in the existing literature and links among published articles to better understand sharenting,
evidence for it, and major topics associated with it and to uncover the gaps in the literature. Citation analysis of the current
literature mainly focuses on risks and benets related to sharenting practices, especially for the children, and on ethical and
privacy concerns. Future studies should investigate the psychological mechanisms that drive sharenting-related behaviors in
parents and multidisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon. With a broader perspective on these issues, practitioners and
professionals in family studies will be able to delineate guidelines for informative interventions to increase awarenes about the
causes and consequences of publicly sharing child content.
1. Introduction
Social media platforms are an integral part of daily life.
Online personal proles are no longer solely personal spaces
to meet new and old friends but have transformed into a vir-
tual sphere to express and share texts, pictures, and videos of
personal experiences, including parenting. Sharenting,an
amalgamation of sharingand parenting,is an emerging
internet trend wherein parents post detailed information
about their children [1, 2]. Sharenting rst appeared as a
term on the internet in 2013, and the phenomenon has since
grown rapidly in popularity and was named in a scientic
publication for the rst time in 2015 [3]. Social media repre-
sents an integral part of parentslives [2], with 91% of
mothers using at least one social media platform in the
United States (see Moms and Media study [4]). Parents
multimedia content posts on social media about their chil-
dren include pictures, videos, and other media [5]. Parents
post about their children on social media for many reasons,
to solicit support, to share experiences, to seek advice related
to parenting challenges and concerns [2, 68], to stay in
touch and update family and friends about their childs
development [2], to record developmental milestones [9],
and to collect memories [3, 9]. Taken together, these reasons
parents post together aord parents a platform on which to
build a community and feel part of a group through mutual
support [1012]. These posts also articulate with the increas-
ing popularity of online parenting interventions [10, 1315].
However, parental preoccupation with social media has
diverse consequences, from how parents dene the nature
of parenting [16], communicate parenting strategies with
others [17], and cope with parental stress [18] all the way
Hindawi
Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Volume 2022, Article ID 5607422, 12 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/5607422
to how distracted they are when interacting with their o-
spring [19, 20]. Parentsdisplays of their children online
expose a conict between consent and privacy and the age
of children being posted [2124], highlighting the ethical
issues of sharenting especially when parents make a career
out of their social media proles of their children [3, 25, 26].
In consequence of its social popularity and developmental
importance, sharenting is drawing the attention of researchers
to better understand the trend and its implications. This article
updates our understanding of the scienticliteratureand
identies disciplinary areas most involved in the sharenting
phenomenon. This study highlights how parents utilize
sharenting as a form of support for themselves, such as
parenting groups, and for advice. However, in doing so,
the privacy of children is implicated.
2. The Present Study
The present study is aimed at gaining a better understanding
of sharenting by identifying the evidence for it, the most rel-
evant publications, the major associated topics, and gaps in
the burgeoning literature. To this purpose, a scientometric
approach using a document cocitation analysis (DCA) [27,
28] is applied to analyze references in the existing literature
on sharenting as well as the relevance of publications in the
eld. This approach clusters publications by common
research domains, reveals areas covered in the literature
and gaps, and identies articles that have contributed signif-
icantly to a literature. Results of this scientometric explora-
tion oer insight into research and publication trends in a
eld, documenting how many articles have been published
on the topic, how dierent works are linked to each other,
and which scienticelds developed more issues related to
this topic. The scientometric approach has been already
employed in very dierent elds, spanning from neurosci-
ence [29, 30] to education. For example, Carollo et al. [31]
identied trends in published literature in developmental
disabilities in dierent parts of the world. Rashid and col-
leagues studied the impact of the research in social support
in education in 43 years (1977-2020) [32]. Due to the rela-
tive novelty but signicance of sharenting, a scientometric
analysis of emerging issues was deemed to be useful to ana-
lyze references in the existing literature and the relevance of
publications in the eld, to unearth gaps in the literature,
and to identify articles that have contributed signicantly
to literature. The present report also emphasizes the need
to consider the consequences on sharenting, especially con-
sidering the pervasive use of social media.
3. Material and Methods
For the present study, relevant publications were down-
loaded from Scopus, following standard and established sci-
entometric procedures [28]. A total of 287 scientic
publications, published between 01 January 1998 and 02
August 2021, were available on Scopus when using the fol-
lowing search string: TITLE-ABS-KEY (sharentingOR
digital parentingOR online parentingOR social media
parentingOR Facebook parentingOR Instagram parent-
ingOR online parentsharingOR motheronlineOR
fatheronlineOR parentonline) AND (LIMIT-TO
(LANGUAGE, English)). 2013 was the year in which the
term sharentingwas introduced, but the sample of publi-
cations collected through Scopus also covers 1998 to 2013
because Scopus keywords were selected to analyze the ori-
gins and initial developments that led to sharenting before
establishment of the term per se. Scopus was preferred over
other similar search engines because of its wider coverage
in terms of numbers of indexed journals and augmented
similarity between the topic of interest and the focus of the
service [33]. The wider inclusion criteria adopted in the
database search could incorporate references not strictly
related to sharenting, but to side-topics involving similar
mechanisms.
3.1. Data Import on CiteSpace. Scientometric analysis was
conducted using CiteSpace software (version 5.8.R1) [34].
The 287 downloaded articles were imported into the soft-
ware, and 12,587 of the 12,966 (97.08%) total references
cited by 287 downloaded articles were considered valid. A
reference is classied as validif it contains the seven main
bits of information: author, year of publication, title, source,
volume, pages, and DOI [28]. Among the valid records, 133
references reported anonymousas rst author and were
discarded using an ad-hoc Python script as they were not eli-
gible for analysis because they were not interpretable for dif-
ferent reasons (e.g., document identiers, such as authors
names and title, were missing). Generally, negligible losses
of references (1.05.0%) occur when importing data in
CiteSpace software due to data irregularities that cannot be
processed [34]. Altogether, 12,454 references from the
downloaded articles were included for scientometric analysis
(Figure 1).
3.2. Document Cocitation Analysis (DCA) and Optimization
of Parameters. To uncover the main research domains that
shape the contemporary sharenting, a document cocitation
analysis (DCA [35]) was employed. DCA is based on the fre-
quency with which two or more papers are cited together in
source articles [36]. DCA assumes that frequent cocitations
among articles reect common research trends and intellec-
tual domains in a literature [27]. Based on these principles,
the network that results from a DCA is composed of docu-
ments that are frequently cited together as well as docu-
ments that cite them (which, in this case, were the articles
initially derived from Scopus).
A balanced network of documents was obtained by
optimizing the parameters that drive and inuence the
DCA. To do so, several DCAs were computed by setting
each time one of three dierent node selection criteria,
namely, g-index, TOP N, and TOP N%, as in Carollo et al.
[30, 31, 37], and their results were compared. The various
node selection criteria dene the criterion that is adopted a
priori to select articles to include in the network. Therefore,
node selection criteria strongly determine the nal network
of articles. Specically, the g-index reects citation scores
of an authors top publications [38, 39]. The g-index repre-
sents the largest number that equals the average number of
2 Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
citations of the most highly cited g publications [34]. Con-
versely, TOP Nand TOP N% are criteria that select all the
Nor N% most cited documents within a time slice (which
in this study was always kept at the value of 1 year) as net-
work nodes [28]. To nd the nal optimal network, node
selection criteria were varied together with their scale factor
values. The scale factor refers to the numeric value chosen as
a threshold for associated node selection criteria. Specically,
DCA networks that adopted the following node selection
criteria were compared: g-index with scale factor kset at
125, 100, 75, 50, 25, and 15; TOP Nwith scale factor Nat
50 and 15; and TOP N% with scale factor Nat 50 and 10.
The overall eects on the networks structural metrics and
the number of nodes included and clusters identied were
the criteria determining the nal decision on node selection
criteria and the scale factors value to use in the nal DCA.
Eventually, the g-index with kat 125 proved to be the opti-
mal criteria and, therefore, was used to generate the nal
network of articles.
3.3. Metrics. In CiteSpace, results are described using two
metrics: structural and temporal. Structural metrics encom-
pass modularity- Q,silhouette scores, and betweenness cen-
trality indexes. Modularity-Qranges from 0 to 1 and
indicates the degree to which the network can be decom-
posed into single groups of nodes, also called modules or
clusters [40]. High values of modularity-Qimply a well-
structured network [27]. Silhouette scores measure the inner
consistency (i.e., cohesion and separation) of the modules
into which the network is divided [41]. Values of silhouette
range from -1 to +1, with larger values representing a clus-
ters high separation from other modules as well as internal
consistency [42]. Betweenness centrality represents the
degree to which a node functions as a bridge to connect an
arbitrary pair of nodes in the network [28, 43]. Betweenness
centrality values range from 0 to 1, with higher scores typi-
cally obtained by groundbreaking and revolutionary works
in the scientic landscape [44]. Temporal metrics include
citation burstiness and sigma. Citation burstiness is calcu-
lated through Kleinbergs algorithm [45] and indicates an
abrupt increase in the number of citations that an article
received within a given time frame [46]. Sigma is computed
with the equation ðcentrality + 1Þburstiness and gives informa-
tion about a documents novelty and its inuence on the
overall network [47]. In this study, modularity-Qand sil-
houette score were used to examine the overall conguration
of the generated network and the identied clusters of cited
and citing references. Additionally, the attributes of net-
works single nodes were examined using both betweenness
centrality and temporal metrics.
4. Results
4.1. Document Cocitation Analysis. The optimized network
obtained for the nal DCA consisted of 1763 nodes and
5516 links, which means that each node in the network
was connected with 3.13 other references on average. Fur-
thermore, the network had a modularity-Qindex of 0.9587
and a weighted mean silhouette score of 0.96. Taken
together, these results indicate that the nodes form a net-
work which is divisible into separate modules, each of which
is homogeneous (see Figure 2). Twelve major clusters were
identied within the network (see details in Figure 2 and
Table 1), the four largest of which will be further discussed
in the next section. The largest cluster, cluster #0, consisted
of 97 nodes and had a silhouette score of 0.91, and the refer-
ences composing it were, on average, published in 2016.
Following, cluster #1 was a group of 77 nodes with a high sil-
houette score of 0.98 and a publication year that, on average,
was 2013. Cluster #2 is the third largest cluster and consisted
287 records identified
through scopus database
IdentificationEligibilityIncluded
References identified
(n = 12,966)
References excluded
(n = 512)
References assessed
for eligibility
(n = 12,454)
Nodes identified
(n = 1763)
Node selection criteria:
g-index; K = 125
Database screening conducted on August 2nd, 2021
Figure 1: PRISMA owchart for search criteria and reference eligibility.
3Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
of 63 nodes with a high silhouette score of 0.99 and was, on
average, published in 2012. Cluster #4 was a group of 53
nodes with a silhouette score of 0.96 and an average publica-
tion year of 2013. The most recent are clusters #0, #9 (mean
year of publication = 2016;size = 32; and silhouette = 0:94),
#39 (mean year of publication = 2016;size = 11; and
silhouette = 1:00), #44 (mean year of publication = 2016;
size = 10; and silhouette = 0:99), and #47 (mean year of
publication = 2016;size = 10; and silhouette = 1:00). All the
12 clusters are reported in Table 1.
In the network resulting from the document cocitation
analysis, 24 references showed a citation burst in their his-
tory with γ=0:50, where γreects the sensitivity of the
nodes burst detection [45]. Among the 24 references, 8
belonged to cluster #0, 7 belonged to cluster #1, 3 belonged
to cluster #2, and 1 belonged to cluster #4. Among the three
articles with the strongest magnitude of citation burst, 2
belonged to cluster #1 and 1 belonged to cluster #48. The
article with the highest burst index was authored by Madge
and OConnor and scored a citation burst of 4.21, which
began in 2010, four years after its publication in 2006 [48].
The document with the second highest citation burst was
authored by Enebrink and colleagues, with a citation burst
of 4.33 and lasted from 2017 to 2018 [49]. The document
with the strongest magnitude of citation burst was authored
by Nieuwboer and colleagues, with a value of 4.35 and began
in 2016 [50]. Among the 24 references, Madge and OCon-
nor and scored a citation burst of 4.21, which began in
2010, four years after its publication in 2006 [48], and Baker
and colleagues [51] had the longest citation bursts in the
Figure 2: Network of publications generated through the document cocitation analysis (DCA). The major clusters are highlighted and
grouped by color.
Table 1: Metrics of the 12 clusters identied with the document cocitation analysis (DCA). Log-Likelihood Ratio (LLR) label is
automatically generated by the software.
Cluster ID Size Silhouette Mean year LLR label Proposed label
0 97 0.91 2016 Mummy inuencer Parents vs. children
1 77 0.98 2013 Veterans perception The internet parentsphere
2 63 0.99 2012 Online behavior Online parenting interventions targeted at mental health
4 53 0.96 2013 Asynchronous discussion board Frequently discussed topics
6 41 0.98 2015 Advocacy privacy -
9 32 0.94 2016 Dialectical tension -
12 28 0.97 2015 Facebook communities -
15 23 1.00 2009 Virtual discussion board -
39 11 1.00 2016 Scene -
44 10 0.99 2016 Digital play -
47 10 1.00 2016 Parent -
48 10 0.99 2005 Online parenting communities -
4 Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
network, with durations of four years, from 2010 to 2014
and from 2017 to 2021, respectively. Regarding the sigma
metric, the article with the highest value was published by
Breitenstein and colleagues, with a value of 1.19 [52]. For a
complete overview of the results of the DCA, refer to
Table 2.
The most active citing articles for cluster #0 are reported
in Table 3. It is important to mention that 17 documents
Table 2: Identifying characteristics of the 22 publications with high citation burstiness metrics generated in the DCA.
Reference Strength
burstiness Year Beginning of
burstiness
End of
burstiness
Burst
duration Sigma Centrality
values
Nieuwboer et al. [50] 43.49 2013 2016 2019 3 1.06 0.01
Enebrink et al. [49] 43.32 2012 2017 2018 1 1.03 0.01
Madge and OConnor [48] 42.06 2006 2010 2014 4 1.02 0.01
Breitenstein et al. [52] 39.34 2014 2017 2019 2 1.19 0.04
Marasli et al. [1] 31.14 2016 2019 2021 2 1.06 0.02
Metzler et al. [53] 30.55 2012 2017 2019 2 1.00 0.00
Leaver [54] 23.88 2015 2019 2021 2 1.03 0.01
Brosch [2] 23.32 2016 2019 2021 2 1.01 0.00
Kumar and Schoenebeck
[9] 19.55 2015 2019 2021 2 1.02 0.01
Baker et al. [51] 18.87 2017 2017 2021 4 1.03 0.02
Jones et al. [55] 17.42 2013 2017 2019 2 1.01 0.01
Hall and Bierman [56] 17.42 2015 2017 2019 2 1.03 0.02
Baumel et al. [57] 16.92 2016 2019 2021 2 1.00 0.00
Feil et al. [58] 16.75 2008 2015 2016 1 1.00 0.00
Gibson and Hanson [59] 16.75 2013 2015 2016 1 1.02 0.01
Daneback and Plantin [60] 16.43 2008 2013 2016 3 1.01 0.01
Ammari et al. [61] 16.36 2015 2019 2021 2 1.08 0.05
Duggan et al. [6] 16.19 2015 2017 2018 1 1.07 0.04
Wagner et al. [62] 2.72 2018 2019 2021 2 1.00 0.00
McDaniel et al. [63] 2.06 2012 2014 2016 2 1.00 0.00
Rothbaum et al. [64] 2.06 2008 2013 2016 3 1.00 0.00
Chalklen and Anderson
[65] 1.91 2017 2019 2021 2 1.02 0.01
Table 3: Citing articles in cluster #0 identied using the DCA.
Values of Global Citing Score (GCS), Local Citing Score (LCS),
and coverage are reported for the citing articles. GCS stays for the
total number of citations a paper received in Scopus. LCS
indicates the number of citations a paper received in the dataset
of the current study. Coverage refers to the number of articles in
the cluster that were cited by the paper.
Cluster 0
nCiting article Year GCS LCS Coverage
1 Verswijvel et al. [8] 2019 8 0 16
2 Jorge et al. [25] 2021 0 0 16
3 Lipu and Siibak [66] 2019 11 0 13
4 Blum-Ross [3] 2015 59 0 12
5 Siibak and Traks [21] 2019 4 0 12
6 Ouvrein and Verswijvel [67] 2019 18 0 11
7 Barnes and Potter [68] 2021 1 0 9
8 Klucarova and Hasford [69] 2021 0 0 7
9 Sarkadi et al. [70] 2020 2 0 6
Table 4: Citing articles in cluster #1 identied using the DCA.
Values of Global Citing Score (GCS), Local Citing Score (LCS),
and coverage are reported for the citing articles. GCS stays for the
total number of citations a paper received in Scopus. LCS
indicates the number of citations a paper received in the dataset
of the current study. Coverage refers to the number of articles in
the cluster that were cited by the paper.
Cluster 1
nCiting article Year GCS LCS Coverage
1 Sherman et al. [71] 2016 30 0 16
2 Collins et al. [10] 2019 2 0 16
3 Haslam et al. [11] 2017 27 0 13
4 McGoron et al. [72] 2018 6 0 12
5 Suárez et al. [73] 2018 5 0 12
6 Zhang et al. [74] 2018 5 0 11
7 Suárez et al. [75] 2016 13 0 9
8 Suarez et al. [76] 2016 8 0 7
9 Tully et al. [77] 2018 7 0 6
5Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
belonging to the papers cited there were not included in the
discussion as they were articles not written in English (N=5;
6.94%), were papers related to statistical methods (N=2;
2.78%), or were websites (N=1; 1.39%).
Table 4 reports the most active citing articles for cluster
#1. For this cluster, 5 documents belonging to the cited arti-
cles were not included in the discussion because full-text
versions could not be found (N=4; 8.69%) or were websites
(N=3; 6.52%).
In Table 5, the most active citing articles for cluster #2
are reported. For this cluster, 2 documents were not included
in the discussion of the cited papers as the publications were
not found (N=1; 1.75%) or were websites (N=1; 1.75%).
In Table 6, the most active citing articles for cluster #4
are reported. In the discussion of this cluster, 5 cited articles
(11.36%) were excluded because it was not possible to
retrieve the full-text articles.
5. Discussion
5.1. Document Cocitation Analysis. The contents of the four
major clusters automatically identied through the DCA
network, corresponding to cluster #0, cluster #1, cluster #2,
and cluster #4 are discussed in detail below. Documents
included in the analyzed reference list that were not scien-
tic articles, available in full text, or written in English are
excluded from the discussion.
5.1.1. Cluster #0: Parents vs. Children. As reported in the
articles referenced in this cluster, sharenting infringes on
the privacy of children and blurs privacy boundaries that,
from the teenagersperspective, parents are expected to have
for their children [3, 8, 21, 25, 6668, 70]. Barnes and col-
leagues and Blum-Ross and colleagues found it ironic that
parents are expected to protect their children from digital
media [85]; yet, in sharenting parents expose children to
online risks [3, 68]. The exhibition of children on the inter-
net brings into question the idea of consent and privacy and
the age of the children being posted [2124] and exposes
ethical issues of sharenting especially when parents make a
career of social media proles involving children [3, 25,
26]. Parents who start a career as inuencers out of share-
nting attempt to promote popularity and connection with
their audience based on emotional disclosure [25, 86]. Spe-
cically, Jorge and colleagues focus on family blogging and
mumpreneurs,meaning women who combine business
enterprise with childrearing [86], highlighting dierent
models of childrearing corresponding to specic emotional
engagement: media with low levels of sentimental content
and more professional material, strugglingmothers that
results inspiring to others, positive attitudes underlying
emotional rewards that derive from relationships with a
child, and a less idealized motherhood [25]. However, the
oversharentingparadox comes into question where fre-
quent parental sharing negatively aects the desire of people
contemplating the content to associate with these parents
[69]. The need to distance from oversharenting behavior
might stem from the view that sharenting behavior is per-
ceived as a sort of social norm violation. Hence, instead of
building connections, these parents may discourage other
parents from associating with them.
Sharenting has created relationship tensions between
parent and child [8, 21, 66, 67, 70]. Some children trust their
parents and accept being posted online [67] but sometimes
still express frustration [66, 67]. As they grow up, adoles-
cents describe contradictions between the image they are
trying to construct online for themselves and the posts their
parents have shared about them [22, 54], which may create
embarrassing situations for them especially when they use
the internet as a platform to express themselves [87]. Addi-
tionally, they may subconsciously t the stereotypes and
identities created by their parents [88] instead of having
the freedom to express themselves. Adolescents who are
more concerned about their online privacy are also more
likely to disapprove sharenting [8]. Over time, the adoles-
cents perceived intrusion could create signicant tension
and distress in the parent-child relationship [21]. To avoid
conicts, parents should ask for their childrens permission
before taking a picture or posting about themeven for chil-
dren younger than 5 years of age (see https://www.esafety
.gov.au/parents/children-under-5/online-safety-for-under-
5s-bookleteSafety.gov.au) and respect childrens boundaries,
such as what types of posts can be shared, how often, and
with whom [66, 67]. This conduct reects the ethical rules
and common practices in conducting research in develop-
mental science, where child consent is required (see
https://www.srcd.org/about-us/ethics-and-integritySRCD
Table 5: Citing articles in cluster #2 identied using the DCA.
Values of Global Citing Score (GCS), Local Citing Score (LCS),
and coverage are reported for the citing articles. GCS stays for the
total number of citations a paper received in Scopus. LCS
indicates the number of citations a paper received in the dataset
of the current study. Coverage refers to the number of articles in
the cluster that were cited by the paper.
Cluster 2
nCiting article Year GCS LCS Coverage
1 Dworkin et al. [78] 2013 57 0 11
2 Baker et al. [79] 2017 29 0 11
3 Baker et al. [51] 2017 45 0 10
4 Owen et al. [80] 2017 3 0 9
5 Boyd et al. [81] 2019 8 0 7
Table 6: Citing articles in cluster #4 identied using the DCA.
Values of Global Citing Score (GCS), Local Citing Score (LCS),
and coverage are reported for the citing articles. GCS stays for the
total number of citations a paper received in Scopus. LCS
indicates the number of citations a paper received in the dataset
of the current study. Coverage refers to the number of articles in
the cluster that were cited by the paper.
Cluster 4
nCiting article Year GCS LCS Coverage
1 Das [82] 2017 10 0 12
2 Appleton et al. [83] 2014 18 0 12
3 Ammari et al. [61] 2015 70 0 10
4 Pettigrew et al. [84] 2016 28 0 9
6 Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
.com). Hence, it is essential that parents become educated
about the eects of sharenting and how their children might
feel about being posted online [1].
5.1.2. Cluster #1: The Internet Parentsphere.The internet
acts as a platform of support for parents and can be utilized
in many ways, such as for information and education [51,
79, 89, 9092]. This cluster refers to sharenting as informa-
tion about children is exposed and narrated through parents
experiences. Although reporting information is not a direct
way to expose children online, the recognizability results in
an equal mechanism to sharenting. Online parenting inter-
ventions are growing increasingly popular, because immedi-
ate accessibility permits parents to reach and overcome
impediments to in-person participation [10, 1315]. The
convenience of using the internet to obtain support from
other parents and as a source of information is a key motiva-
tor for parents to use social media [10, 11]. Haslam and col-
leagues reported a positive correlation between parents who
use social media more and the support they receive online
when discussing and managing child conduct problems
[11]. The online parenting intervention, ParentWorks, was
aimed at increasing participation of both mothers and
fathers in a self-directed parenting program [10, 77]. Tully
and colleagues also explored the awareness and participation
of fathers in ParentWorks, termed The Father Eect,as
fathers tend to be underrepresented in parenting programs
although their participation is essential to the eectiveness
of many interventions [77]. During the 8-week media cam-
paign, fathers reported having more exposure to the cam-
paign than mothers. Furthermore, those who were exposed
to the campaign were signicantly more likely to endorse
the importance of father participation in parenting pro-
grams than those who were not exposed to the campaign
[77]. Although not strictly related to sharenting, the increas-
ing role of digital technologies in parental practices, espe-
cially due to comparing and sharing of personal
experiences about mothering and fathering, might in turn
lead to greater online exposure of childrens personal infor-
mation, similarly to the sharing mechanisms.
Cluster #1 also highlights the shortcomings of the inter-
net when it comes to accessibility and usability for low-
socioeconomic status parents and those who are illiterate
[72, 73, 75, 76]. McGoron and colleagues [72] reported that
most low-income parents included in their studies expressed
interest in participating in internet-based parenting training.
In the rst study, a small percentage (1.9%) reported having
no access to the internet, suggesting that, although reduced,
there is still a risk that the population of parents in need
might not be reached. Additionally, most parents also visited
at least once the website of a program developed to encour-
age parents to do ve daily parenting activities and promote
positive development in their young children. However, in-
depth use of the intervention was reported at 9% [72]. This
gap could be explained by a lack of understanding on how
to use the platform. This nding was also reported by Suarez
and colleagues [75, 76], where parents with less education
and internet experience were less able to utilize the internet
for parenting purposes and to seek information about their
child. Hence, there is need for interventions to address and
assist parents who are less familiar with the online environ-
ment [93, 94], especially since online parenting programs
result in greater condence in parenting capacities and a
sustained increase in parental role satisfaction daily [73].
Cluster #1 includes a publication on the shared percep-
tion of parenting in parents with posttraumatic stress disor-
der (PTSD) [71]. Considering the cited papers related to this
article, it emerges that the internet is eective in assisting
families with a parent suering from PTSD [71, 74, 95,
96]. Similarly, parents and educators of special needs chil-
dren enjoyed less stress and anxiety after attending mindful-
ness programs, which in turned improved the quality of
their parenting and teaching [97, 98]. Monitoring and work-
ing on psychological well-being are essential as higher levels
of certain PTSD symptoms are associated to diminished sat-
isfaction in parenting for mothers [99]. Hence, there is
potential for online mental health-oriented strategies to be
incorporated into parenting interventions, especially for mil-
itary families, who might resent additional sources of stress.
As stated in the Material and Methods, the incorporation of
these references, not strictly related to sharenting, might be
due to the wider inclusion criteria adopted in the methods
of the current analysis.
5.1.3. Cluster #2: Online Parenting Interventions Targeted at
Childs Mental Health. Some references in this cluster
focused on online parenting interventions that were targeted
at the mental health of parents or children. In both cases, the
interventions were aimed at improving the quality of the
parent-child bonding. As mentioned above, participation
in online parenting interventions, especially those concern-
ing specic subgroups of a population like children diag-
nosed with mental health issues, suggests that there is
overlap between sharing information and anecdotes online
about ones parental experiences with a child and a more
direct way to share childrens content through media plat-
forms (i.e., photos or videos of the children). Articles gath-
ered in cluster #2 zoomed in on the parentsuse of the
internet to support themselves to obtain more appropriate
parenting strategies [60, 100, 101]. This support also
extended to the online community of other parents [102].
Parents usually utilized the internet for parenting informa-
tion and social support [78], and support received online is
perceived as more useful than in-person support [51]. In this
regard, Boyd and colleagues discovered that a Facebook par-
enting group intervention for mothers with postpartum
depression was better received than an in-person support
group [81]. Specically, mothers in the social media support
group showed greater improvement in parenting compe-
tence and a steeper decline in depressive symptoms com-
pared to the mothers in an in-person support group.
Attendance in the social media support group was signi-
cantly better than the in-person support group at 83% and
3%, respectively. This dierence could be due to the
increased accessibility and convenience that an online plat-
form provides mothers. In fact, it is possible that parents
from lower socioeconomic status do not have access to the
internet and are unable to receive the support the internet
7Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
can provide [51, 103]. Based on the references in this cluster,
it is evident that the internet is a platform for parents to
learn and receive support from other parents by sharing
their own experiences with their children.
5.1.4. Cluster #4: Frequently Discussed Topics. Within this
cluster, authors highlight frequently discussed topics online.
Here, the use of internet fora to express themselves and seek
comfort from social support online was emphasized [82, 84,
104, 105]. Articles highlighted the importance of birthing
cultures and experiences that shape postpartum emotional
well-being of new mothers. The dierent cultural nuances
that inuence the experience of motherhood will, in turn,
shape infant care. Online fora where mothers post about
their emotional feelings and thoughts are viewed as more
acceptable. Many mothers turn to the internet for support
after facing trauma from birth. It is signicant that they
are able to nd comfort from others online [82, 84, 104].
Additionally, a variety of fora and social media are used by
mothers to form social bonds with others and cope with
the stresses of being a mother [84, 106]. This use is also
termed as Mommy bloggingand mothers are able to
enhance their psychological well-being through it [84, 107,
108]. Online discussion fora also play an essential role for
parents who seek to understand their childrens health and
well-being [83, 109, 110]. With the pervasiveness of the
internet, online discussion fora are able to support health
professionals in assisting parents to obtain accurate informa-
tion about their childs health, in an environment that asks
to share information on specic conditions and situations
concerning the childs health. Parents utilize online discus-
sion fora to seek and share advice, obtain social support,
and oer evaluations on more traditional oine services
[83, 105], including advice from health professionals [83].
This cluster also highlighted the role of fathers in parenting
[111] and the use of social media to document fatherhood
experiences [61, 112]. Fathers appear to seek support online
to learn how to t in their new parental role. The focus on a
targeted parent not only underlines the importance to con-
sider parents in their individual maternal and paternal role
but also highlights the need for better online spaces to sus-
tain men in their transition to fatherhood [61, 112]. This
cluster included dierent topics on online discussion fora
and the ability of these fora to educate and support parents
in their journey becoming parents and connecting with their
child.
5.2. Limitations. Despite being descriptive, the scientometric
approach presents some methodological limitations. First,
the collection of papers included in the analysis depends
on the keywords utilized in the bibliographic search. Conse-
quently, other terms or combination of terms may address
sharenting but may not have been included. At the same
time, we attempted to be inclusive with the keywords used,
and scientic articles are generally indexed by multiple key-
words; hence, it is likely that a preponderance of the relevant
literature was included in this analysis. Second, the DCA
approach is based on the quantity of citations and cocitation
patterns in references retrieved and does not provide
insights about motivations behind the citations (i.e., contro-
versial outcomes or replications). Third, latest publications
might have not been included in the analysis due to their
recent inclusion in scientic journal archives, although some
articles published in 2021 were included in cluster #0.
6. Conclusions
The present study analyzed the references in the existing lit-
erature and connections among published articles to better
comprehend sharenting, evidence for it, and the main topics
associated with it and to unveil the gaps in the literature. The
cocitation approach permitted identifying and clustering
thematic domains and highlighted four main areas that
developed between 2012 and 2016 (see Table 1). These clus-
ters were labeled and discussed from the largest to the smal-
lest, respectively, Parents vs. Children,”“The internet
parentsphere,”“Online parenting interventions targeted at
the childs mental health,and Frequently discussed
topics.Both citing and cited papers in the dierent clusters
suggest that most research has focused on parentsactivities
online (i.e., blogging, interventions, and support) and only a
few investigations involved the consequences in oine rela-
tionships in the family environment. Results from the DCA
suggest that research attention to sharenting is increasing as
the amount and size of clusters published in recent years
exceed publications in earlier years. Sharenting has two
sides: on the one hand, its positive eects include the possi-
bility to seek support, to compare dierent experiences, to
disseminate information about specic conditions of chil-
dren like psychological and neurodevelopmental disorders,
and to oer space for self-expression for mothers and
fathers. On the other hand, however, sharenting negative
implications arise from revealing too much information
about ones own child, who may not agree, especially at
more advanced stages of development, with having their
information or pictures posted online in public spaces, feel-
ing like they have their privacy intruded from their parents.
Nonetheless, sharenting is an increasingly relevant phenom-
enon that needs to be explored in greater detail. Sharenting
involves social media exposure, quality of the parent-child
relationship, ethical and privacy concerns, psychological
motivations underlying parental online behavior, and atti-
tudes toward social media. Because sharenting takes place
mainly in online social platforms, it demands continuous
requests for pictures, videos, and brief reels that might alter
spontaneous family interactions with the parents, siblings,
and signicant others. As such, future studies should con-
sider long-term eects of sharenting, especially when it
involves prolonged exposure of the child to social media
sites, and untoward consequences for the quality of parent-
child bond. A deeper understanding of sharenting would
permit parents to adopt more aware and sensitive behaviors,
considering and balancing risks related to their childs future
online experiences with benets associated with support to
parenting in the short and in the long run. Sharenting con-
cerns the childs privacy, parental well-being, and the quality
of parent-child bonding.
8 Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Data Availability
Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets
were generated or analyzed during the current study.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conict of interest.
AuthorsContributions
I.C. was responsible for the conceptualization. I.C., A.C., and
G.E. were responsible for the methodology. A.C. and G.G
were responsible for the formal analysis. A.C., I.C., M.H.B.,
and G.E. were responsible for the investigation. A.C. and
I.C. were responsible for data curation. A.A.L. and I.C. were
responsible for writing original draft preparation. A.A.L.,
I.C, A.C., M.H.B., A.L., and G.E. were responsible for writ-
ing, review, and editing. A.C. was responsible for the visual-
ization. I.C., M.H.B., and G.E. were responsible for the
supervision. I.C., A.L., and G.E. were responsible for the
funding acquisition. All authors have read and agreed to
the published version of the manuscript. Ilaria Cataldo and
An An Lieu contributed equally to this work.
Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the Ministry of
Education, Singapore, under its Academic Research Fund
Tier 1 (RG55/18) (A.L. and G.E.) and by a grant from the
Italian Ministry of University and Research (Excellence
Department Grant awarded to the Department of Psychol-
ogy and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Italy)
(I.C. and G.E.).
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12 Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
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