Written by A Guest Blogger
Sharing news on social media has become a part of everyday life – reaching friends nearby as well as others on the other side of the world at a click of a button.
There are benefits to posting online – ‘sharenting’ is the easiest way of keeping in touch with friends and family, seeking advice and support. For many parents, it can be a lifeline to feel supported, get practical advice, reassurance.
But posting news and photos about our children on social media continues to present challenges for some parents and does divides opinion.
So how can you reduce the risks? We asked our friends at secure photo sharing app Storychest to reveal five top tips for staying safe on-line….
- Self censorship. Stop and think, is this really appropriate? Some parents set out with the intention of making themselves and their children famous by being ‘influencers’ or ‘bloggers’ and that’s their personal choice. But for many of us, we are just sharing pics to keep in touch with friends and family and maybe make them laugh or go, ‘Ahh, how sweet’. Be mindful about what you are sharing – those beach shots might be a bit exposing.
- Obtain your child’s permission. Yes really, even from the age of five your children will have an opinion on this! For example, there may be some pictures that they are happy for you to share and others they find embarrassing and ask you not to share to the world (where it might come back to haunt them on their 18th birthday in a montage!!). It is important to discuss the pros and cons of ‘sharing’ with children, even when they’re quite young. At the heart of this is the issue of privacy – what matters to children is to feel they have agency over pictures of themselves.
- Don’t post identifying markers. If photos are posted more publicly, try not to put photos of children in their school uniform or wearing their sports club logos. Turn off geo-tagging. And if your child is taking part in a team sport, or at a party with friends, make sure you don’t post pictures of anyone else’s child without asking for permission first. Some parents are very direct in saying to anyone that they’re not to share any images of their child on social media. And most people are understanding and are fine with that.
- Understand and make the most of privacy settings and lock them down. Whatever platform you’re sharing your photos on, review the privacy settings to ensure that your photos are only viewable by your personal connections. Some social media websites share your photos publicly by default. Ensure that these don’t contain personal information to keep your social media profiles secure. Barclays Bank forecasts that “sharenting” will account for two-thirds of identity fraud facing young people by the end of the next decade. Parents are being told that information on social media is vulnerable to being misused to hack passwords or for identity fraud scams. For example, how many of us use a pet’s name as a password – then regularly post about our pet and name it on line?!
- Use closed group services. If you do want to share more personal or intimate photos of your children, restrict these to groups that you can control, such as Whatsapp groups or use services dedicated to the sharing photos of children, which have greater controls – like Storychest.
- Sponsored post, written by Balvinder Gill, co-founder of Storychest,
Storychest is a closed group service that puts privacy and targeted sharing with family and closest friends at its heart, especially protecting the privacy of your child. It believes in giving people more control over their photos and stories on a safer platform.