In a time before the world was ruled by iPhones, Facebook likes and the Kardashians, caring for a sick child meant a doona on the sofa and an endless supply of cordial and cartoons.
Fast forward to 2018 and it’s a very different approach, with the current trend falling firmly on parents posting photos of their sick children on social media.
Facebook appears to be the predominant channel of choice, with its check-in capabilities perfect for an on-trend cryptic hospital post, but even Instagram and Twitter are getting a look in.
Many of us have probably joined the sickie social media movement without even really noticing, others will be in the eye-roll camp, muttering about the modern-day digital devil invading our children’s privacy.
But Dr Kristy Goodwin, a specialist in parenting in the digital age, says there’s a real reason why parents choose to share their child’s sickness so publicly and it has little to do with parental concern.
“A lot of parenting isn’t instantly awarding, you don’t get the accolades or the phrase you get from your work, for example,” she explains.
“It’s delayed, usually when your children turn out alright. But social media gives parents that instant gratification.
“By posting a photo of a sick child, they instantly get likes and comments asking if everything is alright. And that can be addictive.”
Validation via the online world usually drums up images of slinky blondes in even slinkier bikinis, posing and posting for likes and followers.
But for parents, Dr Kristy Goodwin says that validation comes from showing the world how well they are parenting.
But she admits that the decision to share a photo of a sick child isn’t often a conscious decision but an extension of how over-sharing on social media is now normalised.