Who are the “Shareholders”? Why parents should avoid sharing too much of their child’s details on social media

In a dusty corner of everyone’s closet is the sepia-toned Museum of Memories – the family photo album, the living embodiment of a nostalgic past. The photo album, among other beautiful moments, also contains embarrassing images from childhood. Fortunately, for a pre-Internet generation, these ramshackle Polaroid prints rarely saw the light of day, and even when they did, it was in a private meeting.

For today’s children, things are different. The advent of digital culture has transformed the way parents document their child’s life and end up being a ‘Share’.

The term “Sharenting” was coined by Wall Street Journal writer Steven Leckart in the early 2010s. A coat rack of “over-sharing” and “parenting” is the phenomenon in which parents share too much content about their children on Internet platforms. Today, children make their social media debut before their first words. Studies show that children will have more than 1,000 photos of themselves on social media by the age of 5. From ultrasound snapshots to the first birthday and the first day of school, parents’ social media feed is a digital record of their child’s life, in public. seen. In most cases, parents end up sharing a lot of sensitive information, albeit unintentionally. A seemingly innocuous Facebook post, shared in a moment of pride and happiness, can reveal information such as a child’s name, date of birth, and / or school name, all of which can be misused. usefully by people with ulterior motives.

Address the elephant in the room

Babies, like adorable baby elephants, dominate the internet.

The ethereal, button-cute visuals attract social validation in the form of likes and comments. This is one of the main motivations for parents who go too far when it comes to sharing information about their child on social media. In psychological parlance, “intermittent positive reinforcement” determines parental behavior on social media, where parents unwittingly end up risking their child’s digital well-being. Excessive sharing of details about children could increase the likelihood of identity theft and fraud, and put their privacy at risk. Parents must recognize the privacy of their child. Sharing personally identifiable information (PII) about a child can have serious consequences. According to a Barclays study, by 2030 Sharenting could account for up to 7 million cases of identity theft at a cost of £ 667 million per year. Today, children are increasingly the victims of “online grooming,” a term used to describe the tactics that an adult deploys via the Internet to sexually exploit children.

Excessive sharing of your children’s lives on social media could also give easy access to cyberbullies, criminals and stalkers. It can also lead to what researchers call “digital kidnapping,” a new phenomenon in which cybercriminals steal the child’s identity, posing as them or posing as their parents. A quick glance at hashtags like #adoptionrp, #orphanrp, and #babyrp can reveal the dark side of this extremely frightening phenomenon. Inappropriate or embarrassing details or photos of your child might seem cute, but those details can not only embarrass a child later in life, but also seriously damage their online reputation in the future.

Aside from children’s safety and privacy concerns, sharing also deprives them of telling their own stories. Imagine growing up and realizing that your parents’ social media accounts are a public testament to your moments on the Internet, without your having a say. Being a parent in today’s digitally connected world requires wise use of social media and requires you to be a responsible user. These technological leaps have increased additional layers in the traditional parenting paradigm.

To be or not to be (a Sharent)

So, does this mean parents should follow radio silence on social media when it comes to their kids?

The answer to this moral and ethical dilemma of Digital Parents is not easy. Additionally, it is still an evolving concept and there is no clear SOP that can be followed. Sharing is perhaps a classic case of what behavior analysts call a “Collingridge’s dilemma,” whereby the impact of technology cannot be easily predicted until the technology is widely developed and widely developed. used. Knowledge of Sharenting is very limited and people are not even aware of its existence. This is why awareness is the key. The Assam Police’s “share” campaign is an attempt to educate parents about the dangers of sharing sensitive details of their children on social media. This is perhaps one of the first such campaigns, by any police service in India.

The Assam Police’s “share” campaign is an attempt to educate parents about the dangers of sharing sensitive details of their children on social media.

Social media, if used responsibly, is a great source of connecting with our loved ones. However, as a general rule, parents should draw the line when it comes to excessive sharing and refrain from sharing personal information that could be misused by anyone.

The path to follow

While choosing what becomes public and what remains private is a personal decision, there are, however, some basic safety precautions every parent should consider when sharing information about their child on the internet.

● Think before posting: Take a second and look at the photo before posting. Make sure you don’t reveal any personal details like the address of a house or the name of the school.

● Review social media privacy settings: Learn how to use social media privacy and security settings. Control what goes public and what remains private, within a closed group, to ensure the digital well-being of your child.

● Ask for permission: If the photo (s) represent your child’s friends or other children, ask their parents / guardians before posting it online.

● Respect your child’s privacy and dignity: Documenting, although unintentionally, embarrassing or inappropriate times may embarrass or upset your child in the future.

● Monitor your child’s digital fingerprints: Avoid sharing personal information (personally identifying information) as much as possible. Sharing information on the Internet creates digital “fingerprints” that can be misused by cybercriminals in the future.

● Stay anonymous: If you are looking for help online regarding anxiety, HDHD, or any other issue for your child, interact anonymously to protect your child’s privacy.

● It’s Not About You, It’s About Them: The charm of those Facebook likes and comments is irresistible, but always remember that your child is not a social media prop.

● Parent Influencers and Vloggers: If you are a Vlogger parent, the risks associated with sharing, such as identity theft and digital kidnapping, are even greater.

● Keep it vague: When sharing a birthday or “first day at school” message, keep the information and visuals vague. Omit details like your child’s full name, date of birth, and school name.

● Limit your social media network: Consider creating a closed group on social media networks with restricted access for close family members and friends.

The increasingly technological augmented universe is constantly evolving and it is therefore imperative that parents adapt to the new rules of the game. In addition to their existing responsibilities, parents in the modern world must also safeguard and protect the digital footprints of their children. children. While it is true that when it comes to parenthood, no one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard, it’s the beauty of being a parent that keeps us going.

After all, being a responsible parent in the digital age isn’t child’s play.

Harmeet Singh, IPS – Police Commissioner Guwahati, Manager, Assam Police Smart Social Media Center – ‘Nagrik Mitra’ Program and Assam Sishu Mitra Police.

Harmeet Singh, IPS, Police Commissioner Guwahati, Manager, Assam Police Smart Social Media Center – ‘Nagrik Mitra’ & Assam Police Sishu Mitra Program. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.

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