Social Media and your kids…why you should think twice before ‘sharenting’
At NGAGE, our social media team ensures that we remain up-to-date with the latest trends, algorithm changes, best practices, and everything related to social media. However, it’s important that we also highlight safety concerns when it comes to using online platforms.
We all know that social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, not just on a personal level, but for the entire business landscape. The good news is that social media is not going anywhere – it will just keep on getting better. But while you’re scrolling through your newsfeed and posting stories in the course of your daily life, it’s important to be aware of the good, the bad, and everything in-between of social media and your digital footprint.
So let’s dive in…
It’s no secret that, back in 2018, 6.8 million users had their private Facebook photos exposed. So perhaps it’s time to talk about online privacy, especially when it comes to what people post about their children.
All over the world, parents post stories, photos, and videos of their kids on social media because they’re proud of their families and want to stay connected with relatives and friends. But I bet you didn’t know that more than 90% of two-year olds and 80% of babies already have an online presence. So, basically, a child or teenager’s digital footprint now starts before birth.
From ultrasound photos and due-date announcements posted to social media, to the proliferation of smart toys, parents are revealing far more information than they realise about their children. Add the increasing number of computers in classrooms and the amount of data collected by schools, and there’s very little information about your child that’s truly private.
The risk of ‘sharenting’
The phenomenon of parents posting information about their children online is known as ‘sharenting’.
Barclays forecasts that, by 2030, ‘sharenting’ will account for two-thirds of identity fraud, costing hundreds of millions of rands a year. With just a name, date of birth, and address (easy enough to find in a geotagged birthday party photo on Facebook, for example), criminals can store this information until a person turns 18, and then begin opening accounts.
Now, we’re not saying you need to maintain digital silence about your family, but we do suggest that parents give more thought to what they post, eliminate unnecessary layers of information like geotagging, and talk to their kids as soon as they’re able about what’s being put online about them. This will not only improve a child’s sense of autonomy, but also alert them from an early age to the potential dangers of oversharing, and give them a good sense of what is meant by ‘public’ and ‘private’.
By Lesley-Ann Rozanski