Internet Tips and Tricks

Sharenting: Balancing Memories & Online Safety

Navigating parenthood in our interconnected world is a unique experience. Many parents find joy in sharing their children’s milestones and their blossoming interests on social media. These snapshots of bliss, carefully curated and shared, often serve as a serene pause in the whirlwind of the parenting journey. 

But as we open the windows to our private family lives, we must also be mindful of the digital world’s complexities and dangers. In the context of cybersecurity, the safety and privacy of our little ones become paramount.  

If you’re a parent who wants to learn more about the best ways to share memories online, you’ve come to the right place. This blog explores the phenomenon of sharenting and how we can share pictures online while ensuring our children’s safety online.  

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‘Sharenting’: Definition & Its Risks

Sharing photos and videos of our children online, a practice also known as ‘sharenting,’ has become commonplace. From the first steps to the first days of school, parents share these moments with family, friends, and, sometimes, the broader online community. 

While ‘sharenting’ has become normalized, it comes with risks. Cybersecurity professionals often caution against the potential dangers of oversharing on social media. These risks range from creating a digital footprint for our children to the potential for identity theft and doxxing. We explore them below. 

Increasing the Digital Footprint

Whenever we post a photo, comment, or even like a post online, we leave a digital footprint. This footprint is a trail of our online activity, a permanent record that can be traced back to us.   

Examples of a digital footprint include: 

  • Photos or videos shared online 
  • Comments or likes on social media posts 
  • Personal information shared on websites or platforms (e.g., date of birth, address) 
  • Emails sent and received 
  • Online purchases or transactions 
  • Search histories on browsers 
  • Participation in online forums   

Our children’s digital footprint forms when we start sharing their images or information online. Sometimes, this process can begin even before they enter the world, as evidenced when expectant parents share ultrasound photos or snapshots of baby bumps. While a part of modern parenthood, this digital record could have long-term implications that we are still striving to understand. 

Falling Victim to Identity Theft & Doxxing

“Doxxing, a term derived from “documents”, refers to the unintentional act of revealing private personal details online. For example, you could accidentally disclose information such as your residential address. This minor oversight can have significant repercussions, leading to unwanted exposure and potential risks. 

Among the groups potentially vulnerable to doxxing are parents. Research indicates that approximately 30% of parents incorporate personal details, like their children’s names, into their passwords. This sharing habit can unintentionally open you and your child to threats like identity theft and cyberattacks. 

The projected impact of these security breaches is staggering. By 2030, Barclays estimates that this could cost the future generation an annual sum of approximately $860 million, underscoring the need for greater digital security awareness. 

Losing Control of Your Images

Posting a photo online can seem like a simple, innocuous act. However, once a photo is uploaded, it’s virtually impossible to control where it might end up. This is due to the licensing agreements of many popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. 

For instance, when you share content on Facebook, you grant the platform a ‘transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content.’ In simpler terms, this means that Facebook has the legal right to use your photos and information in a wide array of ways without needing your explicit approval each time. 

Instagram, owned by Facebook, follows similar licensing terms. On TikTok, while you retain ownership of the content you post, the platform still reserves the right to distribute and share it as they see fit. 

Why should this matter to parents? By understanding these licenses, parents can make more informed decisions about what they share about their children online. Each picture or detail contributes to your child’s growing digital footprint. It can have unexpected and wide-reaching implications due to these licensing agreements. A single posted photo can be seen, used, or repurposed by others in ways we can’t control.  


How to Share Memories Online: 7 Practical Tips

  1. Review Privacy Settings

Firstly, familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on your social media platforms. You can adjust who sees your posts, who can tag you, and even hide your stories from certain individuals on Instagram.  

Also, communicate your digital privacy expectations to your friends and family. Request that they ask for your permission before sharing content about your child. This way, you can proactively safeguard your child’s digital presence. 

  1. Refrain from Posting Photos of Other Kids

Respect goes both ways. When sharing photos of your child with other kids, consider the privacy of everyone in the picture. Always ask for their parent’s permission before posting. It’s a small step that fosters a safe online community for all kids. 

  1. Check Your Location Settings

Geotagging and location sharing can reveal more than you’d like. With this feature, often automatically enabled on your phone, you can disclose your whereabouts whenever you post a photo. Additionally, it lets everybody know which places you go to frequently. 

But don’t worry, you can turn off geotagging in your app’s settings. A quick check now can save a lot of worries later. 

  1. Double-Check Photos & Limit Personal Information

Before you share that adorable photo, take a moment to scrutinize it. Does it reveal any confidential information, such as their birthdate or full name? Is the name of your child’s school in the background? What about your address? A quick double-check can help you avoid unnecessary risks. 

If you decide to share a photo, consider whether sharing your child’s face is necessary. An easy and fun way to maintain privacy while sharing is to use emojis or stickers to conceal it. This allows you to share the moment without revealing your child’s identity. 

  1. Think Twice Before Posting & Share Mindfully

Before you hit that ‘share’ button, take a moment to reflect. Is it necessary to share this particular moment? Sometimes, resisting that initial impulse to share is all it takes to avoid oversharing online. 

Our little ones, while perhaps not fully capable of giving informed consent due to their age, have a voice that should be heard and respected. As parents, we are their gatekeepers, entrusted to protect their online identities until they’re old enough to take the reins. 

Additionally, the way we handle their online identities sets a precedent. Our actions teach them about privacy norms. So, if we respect their privacy online, they’ll understand its importance and do the same. 

Lastly, let’s ponder the potential future implications of our posts. Could these photos be used against them, perhaps in instances of bullying? By being cautious now, we can protect their tomorrow. 

  1. Encourage Digital Literacy

Navigating the digital world is an integral part of today’s childhood. According to Google, most parents (80%) are confident that their children would approach them with online issues. 73% have initiated conversations about online safety.  

However, there’s still a gap. Children often receive their first mobile phone around the age of 10. Still, discussions about online safety typically begin once they’re about 13. 

Bridging this gap is essential. Start early with these conversations, promoting online safety as soon as they start engaging with technology. This isn’t about instilling fear but preparing them to use technology safely and responsibly. An early investment in their digital literacy will serve them well down the road. 

  1. Use Secure Cloud Storage for Private Sharing

To strike a balance between sharing cherished moments and ensuring your child’s online privacy, consider using secure cloud storage services. Platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud offer a safe space to store and share photos and videos. Here, you dictate who has access to your content, thus preventing unintended exposure on broader platforms like social media. 

By simply uploading the moments you want to share to your secure cloud storage, you can provide a link to specific people. This way, you maintain control, shielding your child’s digital presence. 

Conclusive Thoughts

Navigating the online world demands increasing vigilance and education. Our children are digital natives, while many of us parents were only starting to explore the digital landscape at their age. This calls for conscious measures in sharing online and a moderated approach to sharenting.

Here’s a summary of the tips for sharing photos online: 

  • Regularly review your social media privacy settings. 
  • Exercise discretion when posting photos of other children. 
  • Turn off geotagging settings. 
  • Inspect every photo thoroughly before posting. 
  • Pause and reflect before you share. 
  • Foster digital literacy early on. 
  • Opt for secure cloud storage for private sharing. 

At Race Communications, we take cybersecurity to heart. We’re not just about providing fiber internet, but also about ensuring a safe digital home for your family. So, if you’re looking for a service that prioritizes your safety, reach out. We’re here to assist you. 

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