We’ve all seen them – videos and pictures of cute little tots with bubbly personalities that leave us feeling entertained and warm as we scroll through our social media feeds – but should you be posting your child on social media?
While opening an account for your child or posting media of them may seem like a good idea for potential brand collaborations, storing memories or sharing your parenting journey with others, it may come with risks such as exposing your little ones to pedophiles, stalkers or even kidnappers.
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Other risks can include children feeling as if they don’t have ownership over their own bodies or own values, when they become older. According to Common Sense Media, at the age of 5 years old children start to develop a sense of themselves as individuals and how the rest of the world perceives them.
At this age, they also become aware of their privacy and it becomes a concern to them. They may start to feel embarrassed about the content their parents post about them on social media, especially when it comes to things such as early childhood anecdotes, funny photos, and updates on developmental and behavioural challenges or sensitive photos such as bath-time pictures.
And if you’ve weighed the risk and still want to continue posting your child on social media, there are certain ways you should go about it to ensure the safety of your little one.
Here are 4 things you should think about when posting your child on social media:
1. Try to keep your children’s photos safe
Although it is almost impossible to keep any photos safe on the internet, there are methods you can implement to improve the privacy of the content you share, including photos.
Kaspersky suggests checking your social media privacy settings, checking your friends list and removing those who are not close friends, turning off meta data and geotagging on photos and not posting nude or semi-nude photos of your children.
2. Do not give away personal information in the posts
Be mindful to not giving away personal information in the posts such as showing the school badge in a photo of your child in school uniform. Also avoid giving away your child’s full names, date of birth and address because this can make them fall victim to identity theft or digital kidnapping.
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3. Don’t reveal locations or routines
Updating your child’s followers about their whereabouts or what they do daily could put your child at risk. Speaking to Redtri.com, Justin Lavelle, a leading expert on online safety recommended turning off geotagging and location services on the social media apps.
“Avoid tagging the locations of places you and/or your children may be at frequently and crop out backgrounds with recognisable landmarks,” he said before advising that birthday pictures or play pictures should be posted a few days after they were taken.
4. Expect backlash
Some people may not like the content you are posting and will ensure that they leave nasty comments on your posts. This may open your child up to cyberbullying.