Sharing is caring: but not on social media – here’s why

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With more and more aspects of our lives taking place online, it is only natural to see parents placing more information and photos of their children onto social media sites like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter and Google + and Tumblr. And while this is a great way to keep in touch and indeed, keep family members in the loop, especially in cases of long distance, it can be dangerous.

It was found in 2015 by the Australian eSafety Commissioner for Children that over half of the material found on paedophilia websites was sourced from parents who innocently posted photos of their families online. The images showed children enjoying numerous activities such as sport, swimming and family days out. At the time, the commissioner told the Sunday Morning Herald that although the images were not exploitative, the comments beside them were of a sexual nature.

“The images are almost always accompanied by highly explicit and very disturbing user comments. Often, the user’s exchange email addresses with invitations to connect outside the site to trade content,” commented Alastair MacGibbon, Australia’s Commissioner for Children’s Safety.

It is imperative that parents be vigilant about what their children can access when they’re online, but also to monitor what is being posted of or about their children on the internet. 

Read: Are touch screens affecting children’s fine motor skills?

To avoid pictures of your child being shared around groups on Facebook (or other social media), ensure that any photos of them are uploaded to a private or closed group, to a specific group of people that you know.

Any Facebook user can set up a group; the group can be open, closed or secret. The first two will show up in a search on Facebook; but a secret group will not and only existing members can invite new members to the group and/or see the content.

Results from our survey in 2016
  • 62 per cent of our readers shared photos of their children online.
  • 90 per cent of our readers said their social media accounts were private.
  • 15 per cent said YES to: Have you ever shared a photo of another child without their parent’s permission?
  • 32 per cent said YES to: Has anyone you are not connected with on social media liked, shared, or connected with one of your images?
  • 98 per cent said YES to: Are you cautious about the images you post online?

Do you post photos of your children online? Or are you completely against the idea? Tell us why in the comments.