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The big problem with 'Sharenting'

Social media has unwittingly become a huge part of our lives and interactions with others. When something notable and/or photogenic occurs in our lives, our first instinct is usually to share it with loved ones - and this has become synonymous with sharing it on social media. It is no surprise, therefore, that those of us with children are inadvertently becoming sharents.

Sharenting is used to describe parents who habitually share photos and videos of their children on social media. Proud parents may be used to the sly comments about the frequency of these posts from friends, but there's a bigger problem here - privacy.

When you upload something to social media, everyone that you have shared that post with can download, re-upload and distribute that content. We have to trust that the people that we are sharing content with will not download it without our consent; and with posts, photos and videos of your child, the risks are even more prevalent. Here's our guide to protecting your child's privacy online, and avoid becoming a sharenting nightmare. 

Clear out your friends list

When you share content on social media, you have to trust that everyone on your friends list won't misuse that content.

Take a minute to scan your friends list. If you wouldn't send the photo, video, or share the post with every person on that list, clear out those people or change those privacy settings. Better still, create a private group of trusted family and friends to share images or videos of your children.

Lockdown your privacy settings

To check who you're sharing content with on Facebook, just click the box on the left of 'Post'. You can limit your posts to 'Friends', 'Friends except acquaintances' (which is a list you have to compile yourself) or 'Custom', to exclude certain groups of people and specific individuals. 

If you're blogging, or posting on Twitter, Instagram or any public platform, consider changing the names of your children online. Using an alias is a great way to preserve your child's privacy.

Ask the child's permission

Parents are often concerned about the content that their children are sharing on social media and who they are communicating with. The best way to start a dialogue about sharing content online is to set a good example yourself.

By asking your child before you post a status, photo or video, you encourage good social media practices, and the importance of checking in with you first. If your child vetoes, don't post it; they have a right to their privacy. 

Double check the content

Never publish any post, image or video of your child that is indecent in nature. If you're posting a photo of your child in school uniform, or any kind of uniform, take care to blur out any identifying names or information. Avoid location tagging in places your children go to on a regular basis.

If in doubt, don't post

We understand the temptation to share photos and videos of our children achieving something, or passing a milestone in their life. But as we teach our children, once it's uploaded to the internet it's out there forever. Get savvy, stay safe and don't be a sharent.

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