Why sharing of kiddie images on social is uncool

29 Aug,2018


By A Correspondent

McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, announced results from its latest survey, ‘The Age of Consent’, and found 40.5 per cent of parents in India post a photo or video of their child at least once a day on their social media accounts with 36 per cent posting a picture of their child once a week – highlighting the extent of child exposure on the web arising out of a desire to stay connected with friends and family. Most parents identified the following concerns associated with sharing images online including pedophilia (16.5 per cent), stalking (32 per cent), kidnapping (43 per cent) and cyberbullying (23 per cent), but many (62 per cent) don’t even consider if their child would consent to their image being posted online. What’s even more alarming is that a whopping 76 per cent of parents say they are aware that the images of their children posted online could end up in the wrong hands.

The survey also found parents from Mumbai to be most active with 48 per cent posting a picture of their child on social media at least once per day in comparison to other metros like Delhi (38.5 per cent) and Bangalore (31 per cent). Parents from Bangalore (59 per cent) exercise highest caution and post pictures of their children only from private social media accounts, closely followed by Mumbai (57 per cent) and Delhi (48.5 per cent). Parents

Said Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director – McAfee: “Social Media is a great way to connect with friends and family, to share what’s going on in our lives with loved ones. However, the survey reveals parents are not giving enough consideration to what they post online and how it could harm their children. Posting kids’ information may compromise their personal information. Responsibility lies with parents to understand the implications of their social media habits/actions and the repercussions the child may face.”

While it’s clear that parents are worried about physical risks to their children’s safety, results indicate less concern about the emotional risks. While 46% of parents are concerned that posting an image of their child online could be embarrassing or lead to anxiety, they do it anyway. Emotional side effects should not be discounted. According to a survey from ComRes, more than one in four children between 10 and 12 years old feel embarrassed, anxious or worried when their parents post pictures of them online.

Interestingly, it appears moms consider the embarrassing side-effect more than dads, with 47% mothers admitting that they would never post images their children would be embarrassed by, in comparison to 38% of dads.  However, when they do, mothers (63%) are also less likely to seek their child’s permission before posting an image of them on social media, as opposed to fathers (55%). The survey also highlights how mothers are more conscious about online behavior when it comes to their children with 73% admitting they would never share an image of their child under 2 without clothes on over social media in comparison to men (66%). On the other hand, the dangers that discourage the two are varied as fathers (47%) are most concerned about the danger of identity theft while mothers (49%) are most concerned about the image of their children being edited/photoshopped.   

Parental Tips for Safe Sharing

Watch out for geo-tagging: Many social networks will tag a user’s location when a photo is uploaded. Parents should ensure this feature is turned off to avoid disclosing their location. This is especially important when posting photos away from home.

Lock down privacy settings: Parents should only share photos and other social media posts with their intended audience. Services like Facebook and Instagram have features that allow posts to be shared only with confirmed connections, but everything posted on a social network should be treated as if it’s public.

Set ground rules with friends, family and children: Be clear with friends and family about guidelines when posting images. These rules can help avoid unwanted situations where a family member has shared photos without explicit permission. Don’t forget that these ground rules should also apply to parents to protect the children in the images from embarrassment, anxiety or even cyberbullying.

Take control of your personal information: As the number of reported data breaches continue to rise, so does the possibility of identity theft. For children who are too young for a credit card, parents should freeze their credit to avoid any unauthorized use. An identity theft protection solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection can help consumers proactively protect their identity and keep their personal information secured from misuse.

Survey Methodology

McAfee commissioned OnePoll to conduct a survey of 1000 parents of children aged 1 month to 16 years old across Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.


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