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There’s been some noise brought to the words share and parenting in recent years. In fact, there’s been so much attention that some have coined the term sharenting. Sharenting is directly associated with parents who share too much information on social media. There is a growing concern about whether or not it’s safe and/or appropriate for a child to have a digital footprint before taking his/her first baby steps.
While social media began as a community for communication and ideas, it has grown and become one of the most popular ways to share. There are millions of users on social networks sharing stories, images, videos – all sorts of personal information. Many of these users are proud parents excited about their child’s first Halloween costume or curious if avocado is okay for their one-year-old to eat, but when is it all too much?
How Sharing Can Make Our Children a Target
No one wants to protect children more than parents, but technology is expanding daily and users are either unaware or complacent about the privacy concerns that come with that. Many apps now have a location setting that identifies where a photo was taken, and it’s easy to forget to turn it off. We may not realize it, but the combination of geo-location and a child’s name in one post can turn a cute memory into a target.
Pedophile sites have been widely known for stealing content from innocent images posted on networks like Facebook. And there is little you can do because once something is posted, the reach of that content is among millions, and anyone can save, screenshot, or manipulate it. Theoretically, it’s permanently public.
It’s no news that being “online” can be scary, especially for children. Claims have been made that online reputations are being established for children without their say. Obviously, a one, two, three, or four-year-old is going to have little opinion about whatever images or stories are shared about them on social media, but do you think this could change as they mature? There is a new fear that childhood content on social media could always resurface and be used as ammunition for bullies. Articles have been popping up for years about the unspoken privacy of an infant or child, and E-safety and child welfare organizations are asking parents to practice precautions when posting about their children on social media.
Here are several questions to think about before making a post:
The home is a haven, it’s security and comfort. We won’t advocate for you to stop sharing on social media completely, but exercising caution with a mind for cyber safety is important in keeping home and family safe.