Posting Children’s Pictures on Social Media—Is It Safe?

Posting Children’s Pictures on Social Media—Is It Safe

When people are having a good time or achieve something, they want to share their happiness with the world. Same is the case for the children. It is rather common for parents to post pictures of their children on their social media. But is it safe? Have you ever thought for a moment that someone could be keeping tabs on you and your children? The cyber world has quite a large number of stalkers. The seemingly cute and innocent pictures of your child could end up in a pedophile’s hands. The digital world is full of sick people including identity thieves, sex offenders, pedophiles, and scammers.

You never know who is watching your children’s pictures with the wrong intention. Like other parents, Indian parents too, take immense pride in posting pictures of their children online. You never know who is watching your children’s pictures with the wrong intention. Like other parents, Indian parents too, take immense pride in posting pictures of their children online.

The cybersecurity company McAfee recently warns in a survey that posting pictures of your children can threaten the safety of your children. Due to the rising sexual abuse cases in India, one of the major concerns of Indian parents is pedophilia. And yet, almost one-third of the surveyed parents said in the survey that they post a picture or video of their child at least once a day.  It is not about a lack of information. Parents are aware of the risks that are involved in posting all of their child children’s activities on social media. According to the McAfee study, about 76% of the parents reported that they knew that there is the potential risk of their child’s picture ending up in the wrong hands.

McAfee is a renowned global cybersecurity firm. McAfee found in its survey that Indian parents share pictures and videos of their children without their consent. And they do so, despite the fact that there are certain dangerous consequences of posting pictures of their children online. OnePoll, a market research firm conducted the survey of 1000 parents of children from the ages between 1 month to 16 years old across Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. The survey was commissioned by McAfee.

Titled The Age of Consent, the survey revealed that 40.5% of Indian parents post either a video or a picture of their child on their Facebook, Instagram or any other social media accounts at least once a day. Mumbai parents being the most active where 36% of the parents post their children’s images once a week whereas, Delhi at 38.5% and Bengaluru at 31%.

McAfee said that most of the social networks tag a user’s location when a picture is uploaded but parents should ensure that this feature is turned off. This is particularly important while uploading pictures away from home. Avoid disclosing the location. Parents should only share their social media posts and photos with their intended audience only.

About 62% of the parents do not bother about their child’s consent when they upload images of their kids online. Nonetheless, some of them have identified that posting their children’s pictures can result in cyberbullying (23%), kidnapping (43%), pedophilia (16.5), and stalking (32%). At the same time, a large number of parents also believe that as parents, they have the right to share their children’s pictures without consulting them.

Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee said that parents are not very considerate of what they post online and how it can affect children. Posting kids’ information can compromise their personal information as well. For example, parents (67%) upload the pictures of their children in school uniforms despite having the knowledge that they are giving out personal information which can make it easier for stalkers or kidnappers to track their children.

According to him, parents need to take up a responsible attitude and understand the many negative aspects of social media which their children might have to face later on.

The McAfee survey also found that cautious parents post images of their parents only on their private social media accounts. In that case, Bengaluru takes the lead with 59% of the parents doing so. Mothers tend to be more sensitive and considerate regarding their children getting embarrassed than their fathers. 47% of the mothers admitted that they would never post such images of their children which can embarrass them compared to 38% of the fathers.

The survey also revealed that although parents were worried about the physical risks regarding their child’s safety, they were not too considerate as far as the emotional risks were concerned. Only 23% of the parents were concerned about uploading an image that could lead to anxiety or worry. And only 30% of the parents considered whether their child will be embarrassed by the image. Emotional aspect should not be ignored.

According to a ComRes survey, more than one in 4 children between the ages of 10 and 12 years old feel anxious, embarrassed or worried when their parents post their pictures online.