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.
“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.