ESET advises on how the tendency to overemphasize our children's successes and achievements on social media can affect their future and how we can reduce the risks of "sharenting" (the phenomenon that comes from the words share -sharing and parenting-upbringing).
Most of us share with SOCIAL MEDIA moments from our personal life. Sports activities and presentation of delicious dishes up to personal successes and special moments are usually communicated to family members, friends but sometimes to all followers.
The main motivation behind this need is to strengthen ties with family members and friends that are often scattered around the world.
But many parents also post photos of their children, even from a very young age: from their first teeth, their first steps, toilet training, while many even upload the first ultrasound of pregnancy on their personal social media!
In other words, many children unknowingly have a digital presence before they are even born.
The phenomenon of this over-exposure of children on social media has even earned its own name: sharenting! If you do a quick internet search you will find many related articles.
And while it is normal to feel the need to record the process of raising your children, it is not necessarily right to share every moment with them. SOCIAL MEDIA.
According to ESET, these are some of the reasons why this is contraindicated.
This is not your data
Although most parents obviously care about the well-being of their children, we are usually the ones who violate their privacy the most.
For example: when we publicly share our children's humorous moments and successes, we automatically violate their right to privacy. According to a recent report by the Commissioner for Children in England, parents publish an average of 1.300 photos and videos of their children up to the age of 13.
And while parents have the best of intentions when it comes to sharing different aspects of our children's lives, we need to think seriously about what impact such information will have on them in the future. Because, as they grow older, some of the photos and details we have published as parents may have far-reaching implications for our children that we may not be aware of at this time.
That is why it is important to set some restrictions in advance as to what content we can finally share and of course, as our children grow older, we should respect their views on this issue. It's no coincidence that Gwyneth Paltrow was reprimanded by her daughter Apple Martin when she uploaded a photo of a mother-daughter on social media without first asking for her consent. "Mom, we discussed that! You can not post anything without my consent! " wrote the fourteen-year-old Apple.
What do we publish and to whom?
The data on the Internet is designed to facilitate search and sharing and is stored there for many years. In other words, "whatever goes up on the internet, usually stays there".
However, people tend to forget that something as simple as sharing a photo of a children's birthday party could do a lot of damage if the photo ends up in the wrong hands.
Let's analyze how much information such a post can contain:
- A photo of the child, which will probably be accompanied by a wish of the type "happy 2nd birthday, Giannis!".
- Details that could give information about the location.
- Other people, since it could be a group photo. This can also cause problems, as you also need to consider the privacy of the people involved in such events.
- Some geographical tag if the parent has not already turned off the location tag of the photo.
Gathering all this information together we have the name, date of birth and address of the child, which could then be used e.g. identity theft.
Stacey Steinberg, deputy director of the Center on Children and Families, referred to the risks of sharenting in the study entitled Share Things: The privacy of children in their time social half. One of the examples she mentions concerns a mother who posted photos of her twin children while she was in the bathroom. The mother later found out that some people had downloaded the photos, edited them and then uploaded them to a pedophile website.
How to be a responsible parent on social media?
The best and safest advice is "do not post on social media"Nothing to do with your children" but this would be almost impossible for most modern parents. The days when we were flipping through family albums are long gone and it is not practical to carry photo albums with us to show to our family or friends.
However, according to ESET, there are ways in which we can share photos by mitigating the risks we described earlier. Some of them are:
- Do not share anything that may contain personal information or information that may contribute to the identification of your child, such as names, addresses, date of birth.
- Turn off location marking when taking photos so that location tags do not appear.
- Be careful how photos are shared. Before posting anything on social media, first take a look at the privacy filters and then the audience to whom you will post the post.
- Share photos and information with people you know and trust and ask them not to share it with others.
- Before you post, take a break and think about what you plan to share will affect your child in the future and how.
It makes sense to want to record our memories and then share them with those we love, but this should be done in the safest and most responsible way.
We hope this article sheds some light on the dangers associated with over-publishing photos on social media and the impact this may have on our children's future. Our children will eventually become users of social media, so today we can help them by setting a good example.
More about the dangers that children face on the internet as well as the ways in which - apart from technology - we can mitigate them can be found on the English language website Safer Kids Online.