We've all seen the parent that loves their kids to pieces, and wants the whole world to know it by means of sharing countless photos and videos of their little nuggets of joy on social media. This act of sharing has been deemed sharenting, or the (over)sharing of one's kids to the outside world. While we sure love seeing our friends and family post photos and videos, it begs the question: Is this safe?
Surely you're not suspecting any danger or threat from merely posting a photo or two hundred of your kids doing miscellaneous kids-who-grow-up things, such as learning how to walk, using the big kid potty for the first time and the ever-adorable bathtime photoshoots.
However, it's a crazy world out there, and while many have good intentions and see these photos and videos for exactly what they are, there are others who aren't so well-intentioned, and that's something many parents of this current generation likely don't have on their minds.
If you think that there isn't a soul out there that could misuse your photos for ill-intended purposes, you might reconsider. Stacey Steinberg, a law professor from the University of Florida, works on research directly related to pediatrics and the use of social media by parents, and how it affects children from their youth into their teens.
In one of her research findings, Steinberg came across a mother who had posted pictures of her kids potty training with their lower halves exposed, later learning these photos were altered and used on a site commonly used by pedophiles. Upon learning of this, the mother was mortified and likely questioned how or why this could happen.
It's important to remember that anything you post on social media can be accessed by millions of people, and not always the right-minded ones.
If you've ever found yourself in a similar situation, or are now concerned for the safety of yourself and your children, fret not. There are measures to protect your family from unsafe practices and uses of said photos and videos.
You should never post the exact location of where any given photo or video has been taken in your act of sharenting. This protects the real-life threat of a potential kidnapping or stalking situation.
Your Child's Online Presence
In a study done by the internet security firm AVG in 2010, 92 percent of two-year-olds in the U.S. already have an online presence, which makes it even more crucial to check the security of not only your social accounts, but the access your computer has given to Google algorithms. If this is a concern, as it should be, there are ways to block Google from gaining access to these algorithms of your social accounts.
These settings are often within your social media account settings, and can be altered with ease to protect your posts, and your childrens' identities from unwanted viewers, as well. In Google, you can set up alert notifications for whenever your child's name appears on a search or a certain site, further helping you counter and protect what is yours.
For children old enough to have a say in what goes where, or perhaps those with their own social accounts, parents should allow the power of the veto for what is and isn't posted. They're old enough to know what makes them feel uncomfortable, and these thoughts and feelings should be accounted for by their parents.
Though sharenting has gained a less-than-appealing rep, there are ways to do it right the next time you're about to hit 'Post' on your social media accounts, all in the name of safety.