We post our innermost thoughts on social media sites and make them our first port of call when we have something we feel the need to rant about. So why not make our family photo albums available for public viewing?
Research carried out by The Parent Zone on behalf of knowthenet.org.uk, Nominet's advice site, reveals that parents share more pictures online of their kids as they get older: an average of 208 images a year from parents with children under the age of 16.
The study of 2,000 U.K. parents also revealed that 17 percent of them have never checked their privacy settings on Facebook (the most common online platform for photo sharing) and 46 percent have only checked them once or twice.
Worryingly 51 percent of parents who used smartphones to upload pictures of their kids to their social media sites were unaware that location data showing where photos were taken could be stored.
Many parents are also unaware of who has the rights to use the images they post online, with 39 percent believing they own the sole rights to their Facebook images. In fact the Facebook terms and conditions state that Facebook has the right to use uploaded images to promote its services without explicitly asking the permission of the user who uploaded the photo.
"We all love to share those precious moments in our children's lives with friends and family and sites like Facebook have made it easier than ever," said Nominet CEO Russell Haworth. "While the web helps relatives to keep in touch and participate in our everyday lives, it also has the potential to lead to accidental oversharing. It's important to ensure that the correct privacy settings are in place to safeguard our personal information and content. Parents are creating a large digital footprint for their child from a young age, and the right settings are important if you want to stay in control."
Get out of the habit of automatic photo uploading and uploading in bulk. Consider each image before you upload it and ask if it's one your child will thank you for sharing when he's an adult? After an image is uploaded to a social media site it's extremely difficult to remove all traces of it.
Never rely on social networks as the only home for your pictures of your children. You never know what technical glitches could put your images at risk. Save your photos on your hard drive or use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox.
Stay up to date with the terms and conditions of the social networking sites you use as they regularly update their features and make changes to their settings.
For more information on using social networks visit www.knowthenet.org.uk.
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