Posting Pictures Of Children Online Is Dangerous

AI Generated Image Of A Child's Face

It should be no surprise that experts say that posting photos on social media of children can create a digital identity for children, facilitating identity theft and distribution of the child’s image to unwanted parties, but it’s apparent that the parents didn’t get the memo as it continues by the hundreds-of-thousands everyday.

One would think that after seeing the millions of post, blogs, news articles, etc, that it would be obvious to anyone that this kind of conduct is not acceptable in today’s deranged society, but here we are, once again, talking about the dangers of on-line behavior. In two previous post, I’ve written about the dangers of this rule 34 and Human trafficking – the hush hush and as to be expected, there is a new news story of a teen victim from a New Jersey High School Teen deepfake victim pushes for federal law targeting AI-generated explicit content

Many proud parents post their children’s latest news and photos online via Facebook and other social media, but data experts at Edith Cowan University in Australia say this is a dangerous activity.

A review by Dr. Valesca Berg, who has degrees in psychology, is researching the digital identity of children from birth to eight years on social networking sites as part of the Australia Research Center of Excellence for the Digital Child.

“There is only limited understanding of the concept of the digital identity of young children created through engagement on social networking sites,” she said, adding that every digital post that parents create about their children on social networks contributes to the development of a digital identity for the child.

“A lot of parents are unaware that when they post things like photos or identifying information, such as school uniforms, they are creating a digital identity for their children. Even when they post about their pregnancy or anticipating the birth of the child, they give away identifying data. And that creates a digital identity even before the child is born,” Berg warned.

She said that a child’s digital footprint could be used in several detrimental ways, including identity theft and the distribution of the child’s image to unwanted parties.

For parents wanting to share images of their children with far-flung family members, Berg suggested using private messaging to distribute these images and stay connected with family.

“A lot of the times people think that if they only share with their friends on social platforms like Facebook, that it is quite safe, but we often have contacts on those social networks that are known only superficially. Therefore, I would recommend private messaging through Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal and so on. That is a lot safer than public sharing. Creating those secure networks is really important whether that is on Instagram or Facebook. Just putting the profile on private, unless you only have a handful of very close people on there, is not enough to keep your child’s privacy protected.”

For parents using their kids to market products on their social platforms, Berg suggested covering the child’s face to maintain anonymity and refrain from posting identifying information about the child.

“We found that some parents will use tools to blur out the face or only take pictures where the child is facing away from the camera. The less information you can put out on your child, the better,” she added.

When digital identities are created early for a child without the child’s permission or input, the child’s right to create their own digital footprint or identity is taken away, leaving them without a voice and choice.

“Where possible, children should be involved in the development of their digital identity. Research to identify how this can be achieved and to give voice to the experiences of young children is needed to better understand this important and fast-moving area. Future studies should explore the perspectives of children as key stakeholders in the creation of their digital identity.”

Parents’ motivations for posting information about their children differed; however, the most common reasons were to share with friends and family and create digital archives of childhood photos, termed social digital identity.

Berg concluded that creating a digital identity for children is an emerging concept. “Our review develops a deeper understanding of sharing behaviors that can be used to better support parents and their children in creating a digital identity with children and awareness of the potential future impact. We recommend that future studies explore the perspectives of children as key stakeholders in the creation of their digital identity.”