Parenting Technology

The dangers of sharenting

Written by Christian Butler

Are you aware of how ‘sharenting’ could be bad for your kids?

While it’s natural for parents to be proud of their kids, sharing information and images of them online has unseen dangers.

What is sharenting?

Sharenting is a word combining ‘share’ and ‘parenting.’ It’s reckoned that parents share 1.3 billion images of kids each year. About a third of these are on public profiles. These are not private, so can be looked at any member of the public.

Fraud

Barclays have warned if you share information about children online, it could make them future targets of fraud. Information that’s shared online will be freely available to fraudsters in the years to come. Parents often share basic details like names and date of birth. In addition, they share information which could be used to answer security questions. This includes place of birth, mother’s maiden name, pet names etc. Barclays predicted sharenting will make up two in three cases of identity fraud affecting young people by the end of the next decade. This would cost £667 million per year.

Images

Increasingly, fake accounts are taking images of children from public profiles, then using them without permission. Many fear that these images are also circulated online by paedophiles. Tory MP Damien Moore asked about the issue in Parliament. He said, “What about sharenting – where parents themselves are responsible? Criminals are downloading these pictures and images and using them for sexual content.”

What can parents do?

Check your privacy settings of your social media accounts to make sure your account is private. There are great guides on how specific platforms work on sites like Internet Matters, Childnet and the NSPCC. It’s also worth thinking about what you share. Are you sharing information about your child that you wouldn’t share yourself?  Think about what they would consent to when they grow up.

If you’re still worried about images of your child online getting into the wrong hands, simply don’t share!

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