Why and how do we protect children’s digital identities?

If we have a child, s/he has a digital identity. And that needs protection – sometimes we just have to secure ourselves. Read on to learn why and how.

This is an issue especially worth consideration, as one of the possible consequences of posting is that the child will be angry at an older age because of the pictures in which we think s/he was cute, but s/he thinks it differently. Though the range of risks is much wider.

Why can sharing information about a child be dangerous?

Considering the dangers, it is essential that the children’s place and time of birth, their full names, the kindergartens/schools they attend, or where we live are not shared or published. We need to be aware that not only making photos public carries risks. If someone wants to get close to children and to gain their trust, s/he can easily do so if the parents provide information about them in social media. For example: “Suzy dressed as Snow White for Halloween. She’s her favourite fairytale hero.” “We had peanut butter pancakes for dinner again because James likes them the most.”“ We’re going swimming. We are in the pool every Friday and Liz has the most beautiful red swimsuit.” With such information, anyone can easily gain a child’s trust.

What are the risks of publicly shared images?

Not all images are dangerous, but some are. Considering what we publish now is a kind of investment in the future. Because while it is hard to tell where Facebook/Instagram will go in 10 or 15 years when our children are grown up enough to want to do something with all the information their parents have posted, it is quite easy to imagine that the information will mean power in 10 years.

Today’s personal data about children = the capital of future advertisers

Already today social media collects our personal information intensively so that advertisements can find the most appropriate target audiences. Or think of facial recognition, which is already a working technology, and we can rightly assume that by the time today’s young children become adults, it will be possible to collect, store, and find data about them in much more sophisticated ways. In the near future, data will be increasingly linked. Parents should consider if they want their children’s privacy and safety to be compromised in 10 years for what they are posting about their children now.

Therefore, let’s pay attention to how we treat the treasure that our children’s personal information represents (including the photos that depict them). With that, we can do a lot today to protect our children’s future digital identities and interests.

This is the translation of this Hungarian article on Yelon.hu.

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