Approximately 1.1 million UK parents post photos of their kids online at least nine times a month, according to research from image protection platform Pixsy.
A survey of 1,000 parents across the country found that 70% post pictures of their children at least once a month, with two in five respondents saying their frequency of image-sharing has increased since the start of the pandemic.
Parents in the Gen Z generation (18-24) are twice as likely as their older peers to post snaps of their children online, with every single respondent within this demographic claiming they post such images online at least once a month, compared to a 62% average for older parents.
While a third of participants didn’t think their children would care about the pictures of them already shared online when they’re older, 1 in 10 shockingly claimed they had never considered their child’s future opinion before posting.
It seems some parents are not aware of the dangers of sharing images with identifying details such as a school uniform, and even less may not have thought about the chances of their snaps being stolen and spread across the web.
As Kain Jones, CEO of Pixsy, warns: “Parents and children are now one of the biggest at-risk groups when it comes to pictures being stolen online. In the past, we have even worked with parents whose pictures of their kids as toddlers have non-consensually been used in adverts, news articles, or even become memes.
“Parents urgently need to be more aware of the risks, their rights, and how to safely share family pictures first, rather than having to fight the battle after the pictures are stolen.”
In light of this, Pixsy shared some useful ‘sharenting’ tips for parents to consider ahead of the ‘back-to-school’ period:
- Is it really necessary for you to post the pictures on social media? Why not share your images privately instead? There are lots of apps that allow you to share snaps without having to create a public post – including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
- Know your rights on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Research the rules and regulations surrounding image theft if you find your pictures have been used elsewhere without your consent.
- Try and avoid sharing ‘steal-worthy’ pics. Things like wearing different brands can make your pictures less appealing to brands looking to share promotional imagery on socials. If you have a considerable following on your channels, think about adding your name or copyright over an image, or stamped in the corner. This is good protocol for professional family photographers too.
- Set your accounts to private and think carefully before using location tags. As a rule, you should always have your social platforms security settings set to private; not only does this make it harder for images to be copied or stolen, but you also have control over who sees and accesses them. In terms of debates around consensual posting of children and their concerns in later life, security settings mean risks have been minimised or avoided. Removing location tags also lowers the chances of images being found or misused.
- Consider using an image monitoring service. This is an efficient way to keep track of where your images are being used online so you can be flagged with misuse issues as soon as they occur.