Babies and toddlers are adorable - they are funny and the moments come fast. The bath-time splash with the bottom on show, the adorable photo of your toddler on a potty half-naked as they try for their first wee, these are photos for the memory bank, the family album, but are they really photos for social media? That quick snapshot and all the others like it, create a 'digital footprint’ for your little one that forms the beginnings of their identity in the online world.
While those pictures are so very cute and funny now, that baby who is now a teenager, might not appreciate these early photos of their life online.
A 'sharent' - a parent that shares their family life online, pretty much describes most parents in 2018, myself included, but with more and more parents posting videos, photos and stories about their children, how safe is it, and what can we do to keep our little ones safe in the big world wide web?
: Adopting a ‘thinking before posting’ attitude will save you stress and worry in the long run. We’ve all been there - the excitement of a ‘big moment’, we snap it, we share it and forget in that moment how vulnerable we all are online. how vulnerable our little ones are online.
1) Think before posting
Without wanting to scaremonger it’s important to remember that when you post a photo online, you lose control over it. Anyone who you are friends with on social media, your Instagram followers or twitter friends can easily copy the photo, tag it, save it, or otherwise use it and you might never even know.
2. Remember, once it’s posted you lose control
Recently there have been cases of 'digital kidnapping' where individuals or companies steal children's images and use their images in advertisements or more sinister things. It is really worth baring this in mind when you choose what you share online.
We don't really need to explain this one, but there is never a need to post a photo of your naked toddler on the internet. Also remember, your toddler will grow into an adolescent who will have to live with the digital footprint...
3) Don’t post pictures of your child naked. Full stop.
Instead, choose a nickname or use ‘baby’ or ‘little one.’
4) Avoid using full names when sharing online.
Turn off your phone's GPS in your phone settings and avoid ‘checking in’ to locations when you post photos. Ask others not to tag you in locations too.
5) Avoid sharing your location
Be careful not to photograph your little one with the uniform badge on display.
6) Avoid posting details about their nursery or school
Whether it's at nursery, play sessions or at the park, make sure you don't post any photo online involving other children, without their consent.
7) Don't post photos of other people's children
This enables you to share personal photos without them 'living' on the internet.
8) Start a private Facebook group for friends and family
Nicole Baillie shares photos of her children with other family members in a private Facebook group; 'My family are all members of a private Facebook page where we all put pictures up of our children. It's a great way to keep in touch and feel like your included in the lives of your friends and family without having to find the time to fit everybody into your busy schedule.’
This doesn't mean you shouldn't share photos and stories, like all things parenting - it is about making informed choices. Don’t let this article put you off sharing those special moments with friends and families, let it help you to post safely by adopting a ‘think before posting’ mindset. Your little ones will thank you for it in the long run.
9) Remember Instagram can be fun, too!