Online Child Privacy: Experts Caution Parents On Risks Of Sharing Children’s Photos

Digital security experts say even posting pregnancy pictures online can create a digital identity. 

<p>A young father takes a selfie with his daughter. Studies have found that there are dangers of parents putting pictures with their kids on social media. (KAMPUS PRODUCTION/PEXELS)</p>

Even posting pregnancy pics online can create a digital identity for your child that can be exploited, data scientists warn, according to the journal Paediatrics and Parenting.


Experts say that once your child appears online they are vulnerable to identity theft or distribution of the images to third parties.


A woman taking a selfie with her child. It’s recommended that parents do private messaging through friends and family, according to a study. (KAMPUS PRODUCTION/PEXELS)


They add that parents should consider what content they share of their children online as this contributes to the development of a digital identity for their child.


“A lot of parents are unaware that when they post things like photos or identifying information,” said Dr. Valeska Berg of Edith Cowan University, lead researcher of the study. “Such as school uniforms, they are creating a digital identity for their children.”


Social media has been a platform for friends, family, and colleagues to connect and maintain contact.


Facebook was founded in the early 2000s by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates during his time at Harvard University. It was only a network for colleges only before it expanded to the public.


Other social media companies including MySpace, Twitter (now known as X), Google+, TikTok, Instagram and a few others had expanded over the years.


“A lot of the time people think that if they only share with their friends on social platforms like Facebook, that it is quite safe,” said Dr. Berg about the use of social media. “However, we often have contacts on those social networks that are only superficially known.”


She adds that creating secure networks is really important whether that is on Instagram or Facebook and that putting your profile on private is not enough to keep your children’s images safe.


Dr. Berg recommends covering the child’s face if they have to be in pictures to maintain their anonymity and refrain from posting identifying information about the child.


“We found that some parents will use tools to blur out the face, or only take pictures where the child is facing away from the camera,” said Dr. Berg. “The less information you can put out on your child, the better.”


The team also notes that when digital identities are created early for the child without the input of the child, their right to create their own digital footprint or identity is taken away, leaving them without a voice and choice.


“Where possible, children should be involved in the development of their digital identity,” said Dr. Berg in her conclusion about the protection of children.


Parents from the beginning of the Facebook-era possibly maintain their social media accounts. Social media remains platform of exposure for the public.



Produced in association with SWNS Talker