You have probably done this, perhaps a lot – sharing pictures of your kids online for friends and family to see. For parents who actively use social media, the temptation to post pictures of your pride and joy online can be irresistible. It can be done safely, but a lot of the time it isn’t.
There’s a new survey out this week by Knowthenet, a UK non-profit dedicated to helping families and businesses get the most out of the internet while doing so safely.
The survey polled 2,000 parents earlier this year asking about how they share pictures of their families online, and testing their knowledge of online safety best practices. We assume the survey focused mainly or exclusively on UK parents, but image that the results of a comparable survey here in the U.S. would be similar. The highlights:
- 53% of parents have uploaded pictures of their kids to social media sites
- On average, parents of kids under 16 post 208 kid pictures per year (this seems high to us)
- 53% of child pics posted end up on Facebook, 14% on Instagram, 12% on Twitter
- 17% of parents have never checked their Facebook privacy settings
- 51% of parents are unaware that smartphone photos can store location data
- 53% of parents have posted pictures of other people’s children
If you are currently posting pictures of your kids online, or a new parent who is planning to do so, here’s what you can do:
Check your phone’s “Location service”, or GPS settings. The best bet is to turn the phone’s location services off entirely for your phone, or at least the camera (see below for the iPhone examples), or you can turn location off for the social networks where you post pictures
Check your privacy settings. In Facebook for example, in the privacy settings go to the “Who can see my stuff” section. It should be set to “friends only”
Get permission. If you are posting pictures of other people’s children, always get permission first
Know your rights. Networks like Facebook and Instagram have the right to use your photos to promote themselves or their advertisers. You can’t change this – it’s what you agreed to when you signed up
When parents share family photos without taking the right precautions the results can be annoying – your kids’ pictures showing up in online ads – or downright dangerous – a predator knowing your kids’ exact location. Most negative results can be quite easily avoided.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.
Work at a high school or college? We have custom solutions for monitoring dangerous or inappropriate activity. Learn more.