Sharenting: tips for parents and caregivers

In the era of social media, sharenting has become a prevalent practice among parents. Involves the sharing of their child's photos, videos, and milestones online. While the impulse to document and share these precious moments with friends and family is understandable, it is crucial to recognise the long-term implications of this digital footprint on a child's privacy and security. 

Date 2024-05-23 Author Romanian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education, online reputation, potentially harmful content Audience parents and carers
scared teenage girl in front of a laptop

Consider this:  

  • What may seem humorous in the present could potentially cause embarrassment or discomfort for teenagers as they grow older. Moreover, innocent photos shared at the beach or pool may unwittingly find their way onto websites that exploit or sexualize minors, raising significant concerns about online safety. 
  • If other children are in the photo, it is essential to obtain consent from their parents before posting online. As children become more aware of the mechanism of social media  

Parents should avoid sharing photos of children naked, dressed in swimwear, or in 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 would 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.  

Parents should put their child’s protection before their need to share images, and refrain from posting them if necessary. 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. Decision-making aid can help parents determine if an image or 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.  

Parents must prioritise their child's safety and privacy over the desire to share every moment online. By being vigilant about the content they post and actively managing privacy settings, parents can create a safer online environment for their children and set a positive example for responsible digital citizenship.

Read more about online safety and access our guide. Additionally, find more information about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline, and youth participation services, or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.     

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