The frenzy of sharing 300 online photos of every child every year in Europe

Photo of the child on the first day of school or while eating, sleeping, doing fun activities at home. For many parents, sharing photos of their children on social media is a habit, sometimes reinforced by adding details such as the child’s name, age and where they live. According to a study conducted in Europe, parents share an average of 300 photos of their children on the Internet every year, and by their fifth birthday, they have shared almost a thousand photos. The top three places these photos were posted were Facebook (54%), Instagram (16%), and Twitter (12%). However, there are hidden risks associated with “sharing” (i.e. the habit of disclosing content online such as photos, videos, other information about one’s children), of which parents themselves are often unaware, and which involve child protection issues. minor’s image, privacy of personal data, digital security and may also expose them to child pornography.

Evaluating this phenomenon is a study now available online and published in the European Society of Pediatrics’s Journal of Pediatrics and is first authored by Professor Pietro Ferrara, Chair of the Human Rights Working Group. Child of Italian Pediatric Association Sip. Sip also provides advice to parents and their children to ensure a safe digital environment. Pediatricians explain that in most cases, the intentions of parents sharing photos of their children online are harmless: documenting their minor’s growth, sharing worries and concerns in seeking emotional support, seeking information in education, pediatric and school fields.

The three most-published types of photos are from everyday life (child sleeping, playing, eating), trips or outings, and special moments (Christmas, baptism, first day of school, birthdays). “However, it should not be overlooked that this practice can be associated with a number of problems that mainly affect children,” explains Ferrara. “Too often, parents don’t realize that what is shared on social media, sometimes even very personal and detailed, exposes children to a dangerous range of risks, notably identity theft. Sharing that should remain private can cause problems when the child becomes an adult (for example, in job interviews, university entrance exams), as well as the risk of abuse by others. inadvertently depriving children of their right to self-identify”. A 2020 survey of Swedish children found that permission was almost unanimously sought before children were photographed or shared.

Social sharing risks of private content also include falling on child pornography sites: A survey conducted by the Australian eSafety Commission showed that around 50% of the material found on these sites comes from social media where it was previously found. It is shared not only by friends, but also by strangers, often unaware of how easily it can be downloaded. “Pediatricians are central figures in raising parents’ awareness of the dangers associated with online sharing. To protect children’s privacy, families can be explained what possible defensive strategies are. It is important to support mothers and fathers, balancing the natural tendency to share proudly. Sil Annamaria Staiano, head of the sharing practice,” said It’s the progression of children who learn about risks,” he says.

For this reason, Sip reminds families, first of all, that sharing pictures, videos and all kinds of content featuring children means creating the child’s “digital file” without their consent and knowledge. We should also not forget that the sharing of material and information about your children on social media requires a certain amount of caution and in many cases anonymity, as sharing detailed and personal information such as location or full name can dangerously expose children to a range of risks, particularly identity theft. It is also highly recommended that you do not share nudity images of your children as it could be abused by others.

Sip then recommends parents to enable notifications that warn them when their child’s name appears in search engines, and finally to respect the consent and privacy rights of minors, to learn the privacy policy of the sites where the content is shared.

Source: Today IT