Mum, Dad, do you have to take another photo of me? And post it online?

Holidays are a time when we can relax, far away from the stresses of everyday life. Parents and children enjoy wonderful moments together – and we naturally want to hold on to these memories. In a matter of clicks, a couple of photos are taken and – thanks to technical possibilities – are posted directly onto social networks. Not only teenagers, but also parents are doing this more and more frequently. 

Date 2022-01-17 Author Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic data privacy, media literacy/education, online reputation Audience children and young people, media specialist, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals

Is this always the best decision? 

When parents post photos or videos of their children online it’s called ‘sharenting’, based on a combination of the words ‘share’ and ‘parenting’. But is it always a good idea? 

What parents perceive as wonderful holiday memories may be considered embarrassing by the child at some point. The posts may even lead to teasing and bullying by (future) classmates. 

BEE SECURE (the Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre) encourages parents to put themselves into their children’s shoes and to think about the future before posting images and videos of their child. After all, once these photos or videos are online they can be shared, saved, copied or misused for other purposes. By this stage, you no longer have any control over what might happen with this material. 

Losing control of online content 

Above all, parents should avoid sharing photos of children who are naked, dressed in swimwear, or in other similar situations. Paedophiles steal photos like this, as well as everyday photos and videos, upload them in a new location and use them for sexual gratification. They also exchange these photos and videos in forums and talk about how they’d like to commit acts of sexual violence against the child. 

Forums are not the only places where this happens; YouTube can also be used for this purpose. Paedophile users can cunningly adjust the settings of the playlist function to put everyday photos of children into a sexual context: by naming playlists, putting together videos and combining sexual adjectives and inconspicuous terms relating to age, size or physical activities, these playlists can then be found using the search function. A safe countermeasure is to adjust your settings so that your videos cannot be freely distributed or added to other people’s playlists. 

Child protection is paramount 

Parents should put their child’s protection before their need to share images, and refrain from posting them if need be. In this respect, it is good and important for parents to maintain their family’s privacy. In turn, if children see their parents making careful use of images they will do the same with their own photos later on. The SCHAU HIN! decision-making aid can help parents to determine whether or not an image/video should be posted. 

Anyone who wishes to post content on social networks should always check the privacy and security settings. Another useful step is to restrict target groups of albums and photos. 

Find out more about the work of the Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe

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