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Sharenting, or the over-sharing of information and pictures of children on social media is on the rise, with new data pointing to an increase in the number of parents discussing parenting and sharing pictures of their children on social media; despite continued warnings from experts that parents are putting their children at risk.

Recent instances where children were ‘digitally kidnapped” (with people stealing imagery of children and passing off on social media that the child was theirs), only highlights the issue of over-sharrenting and the need for parents to approach the digital footprint of their children with caution. However, despite the continued warnings from experts to share with care, the message is yet to sink in.

Sarah-Jane Kurtini, social media expert and co-founder of Tinybeans, says that although parents are worried about the dangers of sharing on social media, many continue to ignore the warnings.”

“Parents need to get serious about protecting the privacy of their children, because as we know, well-intended sharenting can go wrong.” Sarah Jane Kurtini says.

A recent study by the University of Michigan highlights the need for parents to think before they post. The study identified that a frightening amount of parents (51%) on social media offer personal information that could identify a child’s location, and 27% have shared inappropriate photos of a child[2].

“Many people are often lulled into a false sense of security thanks to the familiarity of social media and do not realise that the images or stories they post of their children may in fact be shared with a broader audience. Parents need to approach their child’s digital footprint mindfully and that starts with taking control of who they share their photos with,” explains Sarah-Jane Kurtini.

However, despite the risks, sharenting is a trend that is here to stay.  Sarah-Jane Kurtini offers her expert tips for safer sharing on social media:

1. Know your privacy settings

It is amazing how many parents leave on their lnstagram location settings without realising what they are doing. It only takes a few seconds to deduce the road someone lives on from where they add most of their photos. It is possible to tell you right now where dozens of celebrity parents and mummy bloggers live.

If you tag someone in a family photo on Facebook does that mean their friends will be able to see it too? Probably. If you aren’t sure about who can see a photo you care about and have concerns about it, you shouldn’t share it.

2. Only share with the people who care

Ask yourself if all the people you are sharing with really want to see your photo and whether they will protect it the way you would. This can generally boil down to family and important friends. Not the person you used to work with 4 years ago who you can’t remember adding to Facebook.

3. Explore private social networks

Private social networks, such as Tinybeans, offer a private way to share the pictures of your children with family and friends. Parents own their own data, choose who they let into their circle and can’t view profiles of people they aren’t connected with.

“Ultimately, the only way to be 100% sure that you don’t have a digital footprint is not to have any digital photos taken but this isn’t a road that the vast majority of people want to go down. Having memories to treasure and share is something that is hugely important to families and doesn’t need to be scary with just a little thought and consideration.” Sarah-Jane Kurtini says.

How much do you share on social media? TELL US in the comments below.

[1] University of Michigan
[2] University of Michigan
Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • We decided when I was pregnant that there would be only one picture of him on Facebook. The one of the day he was born and we made sure it was only shared with friends and family. But Facebook still owns the picture. That’s why we decided to only post one picture ever. And that was a compromise. I said none but my husband stated that some of our family and friends lived far away (Europe).

    People do share too much and they don’t understand what can happen.
    For example, It’s in Facebook’s term and condition that they own the things you post and can use them.

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  • You certainly do have to be careful.

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  • Are you kidding me?! There are way too many creeps out there for me to even want to share much on social media :/

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  • Such an important issue, and I only see it getting worse.

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  • exellent to read all this just great

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  • Very scary what some people can do. Things that would never occur to the normal person and how sharing an innocent little snap of your children can actually be really dangerous!

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  • Don’t forget it’s so important to be careful. I am that’s for sure :)

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  • I rarely post photos of the kids on FB. I have email and use that for the grandparents. Never use location settings or mention schools etc.

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  • it is really kool reading these

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  • l really love reading these it s so greet

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  • I have posted one or two pic of my baby when she was born but only my family can see it. And I don’t add everyone who request to be my friend on Facebook only my family that’s all. But its still worry me……


    • yeah it is up to the individual as to what they post

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  • I do post photos of my son. Mostly close ups and not standing out front of our house or something similarly obvious. I will have to check the location settings when posting via my phone though. I hadn’t thought of that.

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  • There’s always the option of sending pics to relatives and friends through private messaging rather than social media.

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  • Great advice, thank you!

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  • great advice especially when we uses so much social media everyday.

    Reply

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