We’re all guilty of scrolling through Facebook and spending hours gushing at the chubby-cheeked babies of our friends or sharing our precious memories with witty little captions beside them, but we don’t often stop to think of the more sinister part of the whole experience. Sharing photos on Facebook of our kids is part and parcel of parenting these days, but it’s a practice that comes with a few risks.
Not only are the average Joes among us guilty of such things, but perhaps the worst offenders are celebrities. We often feel as though we’re part of the family when we see a constant stream of photos from these stars, allowing us to seemingly watch their kids as they grow, and giving us the okay to do the same.
Reports emerge all the time about the disturbing ways that predators use seemingly harmless photos or details from social media, and it’s not something that you want to invite into your home. Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your children’s photos remain as private as possible, only to be enjoyed by your loved ones.
The World of ‘Sharenting’
It’s human nature to want to share things with others, whether it’s a funny story from last night or your feelings on a certain political matter. The term ‘sharenting’ was recently coined as the world of digital and social media joined forces with parenting and gave a platform for people to go a little crazy with how much they share.
Some experts worry about what message we’re sending our children when we constantly post photos of them online for all to see. Are we displaying them in a way that’s not real, not only regarding our parenting but also of their personalities? Why are we not savouring any special moments without a smartphone or camera in their face?
Most parents understand the fine line between what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and who exactly you should share with. However, there are also those parents who throw caution to the wind and post many details and photos about what their child is doing, wearing, and where they’re going that day.
There are a few risks involved when we start to overshare our kids, and it’s not just related to those creepy sexual predators who lurk online. There’s the chance that you could overshare personal information that could have a psychological impact, or give out too much personal data that puts you at risk of identity fraud. Either way, the sharenting needs to be taken down a notch by some.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
We certainly don’t want to stop sharing photos of our kids altogether, as they’re one way for many families to share memories with others that they wouldn’t get to see otherwise. However, there are some things you can do to take care of what you share online and who you share it with.
Facebook has quite complex settings when it comes to privacy, so you need to keep an eye on them at all times. Make sure you only ever share with direct friends, check to see who is on your friend list, and don’t give apps permission to access your photos.
It can be tempting to post that cute birthday message with your child’s name, but by doing so you’re giving away a lot of their personal information. Keep details brief, and don’t include their birthday and school information.
Sometimes photos are shared through third parties like schools or other parents and friends. Let people know if you’re not comfortable with this and exercise your rights to do so.
This is a troubling fact to come to terms with, but there are people out there who actively search through blogs and Facebook posts to find seemingly innocent photos of kids without any clothes on, with an estimated 50% of images on pedophile sharing sites coming from these sources. Never post anything where your child is exposed otherwise you could be making yourself a target.
These might seem like extreme measures, but it’s just the start of what we have to do to keep our kids safe in this digital age. We don’t want to give up sharing these gorgeous memories with friends and family, but we do have to be careful about how we do it.
Navigating your way through mum life can be a hard thing to do, but our team at Peachymama are here to help in our own little way. To read more about our tips and advice on parenthood, click here to check out the rest of the blog.