In the age of technology, privacy has become a luxury. A Google survey revealed that in Singapore, the average age children receive their first internet-connected device is eight years old—the youngest among the countries included in the survey. Sharing a piece of one’s life on social media knows no age anymore. Whether you’re an adult, a teenager, or a kid, chances are you’ve shared something about your life online.
While there’s nothing wrong about expressing one’s self or sharing updates online, oversharing may pose some security concerns especially for content involving children. It would be more alarming if the content comes from parents themselves, especially with the so-called “sharenting” phenomenon. Collins Dictionary defines sharenting as the “habitual use of social media to share news, images, etc of one’s children.”
What do parents have to know about sharing content online? How can they protect their children in this platform? Check out some tips from Google to ensure your child’s safety in the world wide web. If your children are already accessing the internet, it’s best to share these with them, too!
#1 Be smart: Always be mindful of what and who you’re sharing information with
Treat online communication as you would in person. The general rule is if it’s something that doesn’t feel right to be shared in a face-to-face set-up, then it may not be a good idea to express your comment or story on the internet. Do not share personal details like birthdays and addresses of your family and friends no matter what.
#2 Be alert: Don’t trust everything you see online and be discerning between what’s real and fake
Not everything you see on the internet is real. You’ve probably encountered fake news in the past 24 hours or have been directed to a website luring you to do something and get something “for free.” Think before you click, do your research first, and learn to trust your intuition. Avoid trusting people you do not know personally because sometimes, people can take on a false identity to trick you into sharing personal information that may be used in illegal activities.
#3 Be strong: Safeguard your personal information
Do not underestimate the value of the content you’re sharing. Just because it’s a simple family gathering does not mean you should disclose your whereabouts. Remember: any content involving your children puts their privacy and security at risk. For your personal accounts, ensure that you use strong, unique, and varied passwords for multiple sites to lower the chances of your account being hacked and risk exposing information to attackers.
#4 Be kind: Create a brighter and safer place for everyone on the internet
Share only information that sends out a positive message to people close to you or one that promotes conversation about important matters. Do not use it to rant about your problems in your family life or whenever your child does something disappointing. Foster an online culture that your child can emulate.
#5 Be brave: When in doubt, talk it out with someone you trust
Be clear about family rules and expectations when it comes to access to internet and what content each member can share. This should not just be the responsibility of one person but a responsibility of everyone in the family—from your partner and children to grandparents and so on. Extend your rules and expectations, as well as lines of communication, to other trusted adults like teachers, coaches, counsellors, friends, and relatives.
Should you need access to tools, information, and enhanced resources to help you manage your family’s online privacy and security, Google has made its Google Safety Centre and Be Internet Awesome parent’s guide available for parents.