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Vodafone issues a warning of the risks of so-called sharenting

The Vodafone logo on a grey red and white background

Vodafone has issued a warning about oversharing information about your children on social media which is calls sharenting. So-called sharenting is a pretty recent phenomenon and as such, will pose risks that people had not foreseen when uploading pictures and sharing details of their children’s lives online.

Speaking to Vodafone, Dr Claire Bessant, an associate law professor from Northumbria University, said the consequences of sharenting could include a loss of privacy via accidentally shared metadata, embarrassment and anxiety, ridicule or bullying, unwanted attention, denying kids the right to build their own online identity, the possibility of identity theft, and the misuse of images and videos by paedophiles.

Content that parents regularly share about their children online includes full names, images of their children not fully dressed, their children’s birth date (directly and from birthday photos being shared), and information about which school they go to which could put them in danger away from home.

Parents wanting to share photos and videos of their children online can take proactive measures to ensure that the content is not used for malicious purposes. For example, you can limit the audience of posts so only those you trust can see the content. Additionally, you can use emoji to cover children’s faces if you want to keep them anonymous – if you’re not confident doing this, you can also take photos from a distance to reduce facial details or take photos from behind their heads or over their shoulders.

Vodafone warned that it’s not only parents who have to be careful but also a child’s other carers who might think it’s harmless to share content online. In the case of older children, an expert talking to Vodafone said that parents should give their children a veto so they can choose which content gets shared online.

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