Navigating Parenthood in The Digital Age

Navigating Parenthood in The Digital Age

25 March 2024

Like millions of doting parents we want to keep others abreast of our kids’ milestones.

After all, the desire to connect with people and make connections by bonding over our kids is natural and beautiful. The reality is that over the last decade, the way we share photos of our kids has taken on a digital dimension that comes with its own set of risks.

When you think of social media safety you might think that this would be something you’ll only need to worry about when your child is in their teens. However, did you know it’s estimated that 50% of images shared on pedophile sites have been taken from parents’ social media sites? But how could you sharing cute photos of your child online be dangerous?

Digital photographs may look like static images, but they can contain a wealth of hidden data beneath the surface. And the scary thing is that once photos are posted online, it’s almost impossible to completely recall them (especially considering that screenshot and screen-recording features are now integrated aspects of modern tech).

From a single photo malicious parties can potentially find a person’s location and date of birth. Once someone knows you or your child’s full name, it’s usually relatively easy to find other details, like your address and phone number. Also, sharing your child’s photo on certain media sites such as Facebook or Instagram could expose him/her to facial recognition software.

Thing is, even if you lock your child’s images behind privacy filters, you may still be sharing more of your family’s personal information than you realize. Many people add strangers to their friends list on Facebook, then make pictures of their kids visible to all of their friends.

Also mom and dad, by putting your child’s photo online, you are automatically creating a chain of data attached to him, indirectly building his digital footprint. Would your child be happy with you sharing photos of him as he grows up? Think about it, images and anecdotes shared by parents could later become useful material for bullies.

So, to enjoy the positive aspects of social media while limiting the risks to your kids, try using the following strategies:

  1. Only share photos of your kids with family members and close friends. Request friends and family not to share photos of your kids online.
  2. Turn off location service and facial recognition whenever possible. Never post pictures of birthday parties as strangers can discover your child’s date of birth and location from such images.
  3. Remove EXIF meta data from your digital images. Deleting meta data gets rid of hidden information encoded in photos.
  4. Ask your child’s consent before sharing images, or if they are small, consider how this might affect them when they’re older. Never post pictures of other people’s kids.

Being a parent means being proud, but it also means protecting our kids against risks. Is exposing them to unknown audiences worth the likes?


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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