As a parent, it’s normal to want to share your child’s milestone moments with friends and whānau. Some parents do this online as it’s a quick and easy way to connect with friends. This is known as sharenting and might unknowingly expose your child to risk. We’ve put together some tips to help parents and whanau share details about their children safely online.
WHAT IS SHARENTING?
‘Sharenting’ is a term used to describe parents sharing images or videos of their children online. By posting things online it allows people to proudly show off their children to friends and family across the world, but there are also some risks that come with it. Sometimes the information a parent posts online can open their child to grooming when they publicly share details like their child’s first name, age/year level at school or their school.
In most cases, the risks are subjective and you can take steps to protect your child.
NETSAFE’S TOP FIVE SHARENTING TIPS
1. Look ahead: Whenever you want to post something online about your child, it’s worth thinking about the digital footprint you are creating for them. Some photos or content may seem harmless now but could lead to something more negative later. Think about how your child might feel about the content you’re sharing once they’re older and how it may affect their future. No previous generation of children has had so public a childhood and not all of them are happy about it when they’re older.
2. Ask for permission: Does the photo you’re about to post include other people’s children? It’s best if you ask their parents for permission before you post a photo online. If your children are old enough consider asking them if they’re okay for you to share it before you post a photo as well. Asking for permission before you post is a great way to teach them about respect and consent online.
3. Check your privacy settings: If you’re thinking about sharing a photo of your child on social media it’s important that you first check what privacy settings you have set up. Some social media networks default to public or more open privacy settings when you sign up so make sure what you’re posting can only be seen by the people you’d like to see it.
4. Think about who is in your network: A lot of people have social media networks that include people they aren’t close to anymore. Make sure you are happy with everyone in your social media network seeing the photo – if you’re not sure or if you’d prefer to share it only with a smaller group consider setting up a private group chat.
5. Consider the personal information in the picture: Before you hit post, have another close look at the photo to make sure you’re not revealing any personal information about yourself or your child. Some things to look out for include: the name of your child’s school, your road or house number or any other personal or private information that people could use to build a profile of your child – potentially exposing them to identity theft or grooming. Parents can protect their tamariki by blurring photos which show uniform logos or crests.
ONLINE SAFETY PARENT TOOLKIT
You’re currently within the ‘Model’ section of our Online Safety Parent Toolkit where we encourage you to display behaviours that children look up to and copy.
This is the sixth step in our seven step framework designed to help parents and whānau with digital parenting in a rapidly changing world. We recommend reading through each step of the Toolkit as this will guide you on how to support your child to confidently access digital opportunities and reduce online harm.
If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
- Online report at netsafe.org.nz/report
- Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282