by Sue Scheff
For those who were not aware, overshare was 2014’s word of the year.
What is the definition of overshare?
It may seem quite obvious how it would conflict with online safety and especially with online privacy, however people of all ages are still taking part in this activity.
A recent survey from KnowTheNet revealed that today’s children will have nearly 1,000 photos online before they reach the age of five years old, thanks to their parents and relatives.
Fifty-three percent of parents post their children’s pictures to Facebook. Instagram followed with 14 percent, while 12 percent of parents upload pictures of their kids to Twitter, according to the report.
This study also found that 17 percent of parents never checked their Facebook privacy settings and almost half (46 percent) have only checked them once or twice. This is very concerning since Facebook is known as the most common platform for photo sharing as well as the most popular.
Oversharing not only about youth
Research just released by GlobalWebIndex shows adults love social media almost as much as kids do – the average adult spends one in four online minutes on social media. And according to Pew Research, adults’ favorite site is Facebook, at 71 percent. The average adult online is now engaged in at least two social media accounts.
If you have a habit of oversharing your child’s information online and it has reached a point where they are asking you to please stop, chances are you have crossed the line. There’s even a word for it: sharenting.
As an adult, you are the role model for your child (or niece or nephew or anyone who looks up to you). Your social media behavior matters.
When your child asks you to please stop sharing their information or posting photos of them, listen.
Oversharing has limitless invitations
From tweens to teens to parents, it’s understandable that you want to show off an adorable selfie or pictures of your baby, but think of who you are inviting to your social media party.
Privacy settings have a way to changing without notice, especially if you are in the percentage of people who not checking frequently to secure your sites. Friends can quickly turn to foes – and you don’t know where those photos will end up.
Especially during summer months when families are on vacations, we see more swimsuit photos and fun in the sun snapshots. In a public account, these can be ripe for cyber-criminals.
Did you know child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online?
According to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as of June 2014, the CyberTipline has received more than 2.5 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998 and ICAC Task Forces noted a more than 1,000 percent increase in complaints of child sex trafficking.
Child pornography and online predators are major concerns today. Twenty-five years ago we were only concerned with stranger danger in our parks and on the streets. Today, cyberspace has widened this gap exponentially.
Posting innocent photos can potentially end up on child porn sites — where your child’s face could possibly show up without you knowing about it.
Steps to take to prevent oversharing your photos
Most people have heard the phrase think before your post. This is very true, but to be more confident with your decision, it is best to implement pause before you post.
They are similar, however pausing is actually stopping what you are doing, instead of thinking and clicking at the same time.
P – Picture yourself in that photo, not your child. Is this something that can be embarrassing or humiliating at a later date or does it reveal too much information? If so, it is likely your child wouldn’t want that picture published.
A – Ask permission of those who are in the photo before posting it. Be respectful when posting pictures of others, including friends of your children.
U – Understand there is no rewind or delete key once it is posted. The Internet can be unforgiving.
S – Share other people’s photos, especially your own child, with respect. Never assume they have given you permission unless they have.
E – Exercise digital citizenship: Use your privacy settings (checking them frequently), never post to shame others, be kind online as you would offline, and if you are having a bad day – click off.
Sue Scheff is an author and parent advocate. She founded Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc in 2001. You can find Sue on Twitter at @SueSheff. Read more about her here.