Think twice before you share our faces online, say children

Study reveals parents are less savvy than their offspring about the perils of posting family photos

It’s become an accepted part of keeping up to date with extended family and friends, but if schoolchildren were in their parents’ shoes, the majority wouldn’t share posts of their sons and daughters online.

Over 55% said they would not upload news about, or images of, their children to their social media feeds, according to survey of over 16,000 pupils by VotesforSchools.

While some were concerned about being embarrassed or the longevity of content which could remain online indefinitely, others expressed concern about their personal data being compromised. One of the pupils surveyed said: “Although our parents mean well, sometimes the aftermath of a post can be disastrous.”

Secondary school pupils were less likely to be against “sharenting,”, while 60% of those at primary school were against it. Just over 58% of boys and 54% of girls said they would not share posts about their children online.

In response to the poll, children’s mental health charity Place2Be and law firm Mishcon de Reya have produced three films ahead of the Christmas holidays – the optimum period for parental oversharing.

In one video, about safety online, 10-year-old Adavan said: “If you share anything with your family, you know who’s going to see it. But if you share it publicly, there are millions of people who can see your picture.”

Joe Hancock, cyber security lead at Mishcon de Reya, encouraged parents to share wisely. “Simple steps, such as checking your privacy settings and asking others not to share content of your children on their accounts if they have not updated their privacy settings, is a good start. And, as we found out from the children during filming, having their consent is key,” he said.

The study marks a shift away from the usual debate about teaching children to use the internet safely. Sandra Davis, head of the law firm’s family department, said: “Children are the experts on the real and immediate impact of sharenting – the full extent of which we cannot know yet. We must ensure we listen to children and take their views into consideration now in order to avoid any unintended consequences further down the line.”

Not all children were wary about the consequences of sharenting, though. Another child who took part in the survey said: “If I have children when I’m older, then I will most likely share pictures of them on Facebook. However, this would only be occasional and primarily just because I would be proud of my child and their accomplishments.”


Amy Walker

The GuardianTramp

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