As a part of a generation of modern parents, you have had to learn how to protect your children on and offline. Gen Z children are the first to experience a world where their digital footprint and online identities hold a significant amount of weight in their everyday lives. They are constantly posting, sharing and chatting with friends often naive to the impact this could be having on their digital reputation.
As parents, it is your responsibility to teach them how to navigate the world of social media and make smarter online decisions with their future in mind. And with that, you must practice what you preach! It’s become common that parents will enforce rules about what their kids should and shouldn’t post online without applying these rules to themselves.
What many parents forget is that they are often responsible for a large portion of their child’s digital reputation. The term “sharenting” has come about as it is increasingly common that parents will overshare photos and other personal information about their children online. Studies show that by the age of 5, the average child will have over 1,500 photos of them online. Not to mention, 90% of American children have a social media presence by the age of 2.
Now, many parents would argue that their child is too young to be deciding what can and can’t be posted about them online. But, how would you feel if there was years worth of content posted about you online without any of your consent? By 2030, sharenting could account for 7 million incidents of identity theft and over $800 in online fraud. It’s time parents begin considering their child’s future and how much information they want out there for the world to see.
More often than not posting photos and videos of your children feels harmless. Parents will often make the excuses of, “I think the picture is adorable”, “It’s only my friends and family seeing it.”, or “All parents do it!” Regardless of how much you love the photo or how insignificant it seems, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of asking permission. This also helps your child understand consent for when they begin posting or have friends posting about them on social media.
A few questions you can ask yourself before posting something about your child:
Once you’ve thought through all of those and you still think it’s a good idea to post, ask your kid if they are okay with it. When they give you the green light, go for it! And if they say no, respect their privacy and ensure that they know you will respect their decision by not posting it. This sets an example for what responsible technology use looks like as how to set respectful boundaries. As your kids continue to spend more time on social media, you can feel confident that they have an instilled awareness of the importance of healthy digital habits and how they can protect their online reputation.