If you haven’t read a recent article by the BBC on the subject, you’re probably wondering what “Sharenting” is and why you need tips on it. Basically, it’s where parents unwittingly share their children’s personal information online. According to Barclays Bank this can potentially compromise children’s future financial security by putting them at risk for online fraud or worse…identity theft.
So…should you stop sharenting? Are we allowed to share pictures of our children or even interact online?
The simple answer is no, you don’t have to stop sharenting, we all want to share our children’s best (or worst) moments. You just need to be a little wiser with how you do it.
But so you’re a little wiser about it we put together some tips to help you protect your children’s privacy online.
Always check your privacy settings
Your privacy settings allow you to control who you share your posts. We should all learn how they work so we know who we’re sharing our information with.
Facebook, Instagram and other social networks all have sections of their applications and sites which give easy to understand information on how privacy settings work. This includes your location data which can usually be turned off so you’re not sharing where your family lives whenever you share a picture!
We’re not saying you shouldn’t share, far from it. Just be aware of who’s in your networks.
Ask yourself “Do they all need to see this?”.
With Facebook you can choose to only share posts with select people which is a very useful feature we think.
Sense check your photos
Unless you go old school with your photos and use film, then you’re going to at some point end up having your family photos online. By having them publicly available a wealth of knowledge can become known to those with the ability to see them based on what’s in the photo and the captions.
As this is probably the most difficult thing to navigate with sharing as a parent, we would say to consider:
- Not posting photos that might embarrass your child, now or later in life.
- Get permission before posting photos of someone else's child.
- Ask your friends/family not to tag themselves in photos of your child – tagged photos could be seen by their followers.
- Think carefully before posting photos of your child in full school uniform, or outside their school.
- Review old photos you have online and think whether they need to be public or not.
- Be careful of photos revealing too much information such as names, ages, and dates of birth, home addresses, place of birth, mother's maiden name, schools, the names of pets or even sports teams they support which can be all be used in security questions.
Consider private social networks
Look into private social networks or other secure ways of sharing the pictures of your children with your family and friends such as WhatsApp which has end-to-end encryption. While the most popular social networks might be okay for general use and keeping up with the rest of the world it might not be what’s right for your keeping your children’s information safe.
Educate your children about privacy
Finally, the best sharenting tip – especially with the world becoming ever more digitally focused – is to talk to your children about privacy online and offline. See what they understand about staying safe online and explore what we’ve gone through above and anything else which might not have been. The older the child is the more likely it is that they might know more than you!
Making sure your children’s financial future is secure doesn’t always involve knowledge about finances. For more tips on sharenting visit internet matters.