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The average parent shares almost 1,500 images of their child online before their 5th birthday

By Megan Rose

Parent Zone has collaborated with Nominet on a new study into ‘sharenting’ – parents sharing images of their children on social media.

In Sensible Sharing, we looked into how often parents upload images of their or other people’s children online, and how they feel about making images available through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The study also quizzed parents on their knowledge of privacy settings.

Facebook was reported as the most popular social media platform, with over half, 54%, of parents reporting it as the social network they use to post photos on. 16% named Instagram, with 12% using Twitter.

32% of parents said they upload, on average, 11-20 new photos of their child per month. Over a quarter, 28%, said they never thought to ask their child if they minded uploading images of them online. 33%, however, reported that they always expect other parents to ask permission before they post a picture of their child online.

In addition, the research asked parents which repercussions of posting images of their children online most concerned them.

26% reported it would be losing all their photos, 9% said it was the fact that people they didn’t know would be able to view the photos, while 6% said it would be if their child was unhappy about the images they had posted.

Over half, 55%, said they weren’t at all concerned about any repercussions.

Privacy settings

As well as this, the study examined parents’ knowledge of the available privacy settings on Facebook.

It found that only 10% of parents reported to be ‘very confident’ in managing privacy settings, with half stating they ‘understood the basics.’ The Friends Only security setting was found to be the most popular one parents adopted on Facebook (45%), while only 8% reported it to be Everyone.

29% said they didn’t know whether they could set individual privacy settings for each photo album they had on their profile. 38% thought it was false that if a friend shares their photo, all of their friends would automatically be able to see it, despite it being true.

12% of parents stated they didn’t know if selecting the highest security setting on Facebook would prevent strangers from accessing their profile. However, 43% knew that deleting people from their friends list wasn’t the only way to stop individuals from seeing photos they had uploaded online.

In response to the findings, our CEO, Vicki Shotbolt said: ‘As this research shows, getting to grips with the privacy settings of our favourite social networking sites isn’t easy, but parents could cause future embarrassment for their children…With children growing up in an increasingly digital world, we need to ensure we are one step ahead of possible risks and dangers and have a good understanding of how to avoid them.’

Do YOU overshare? Find out by looking at our 5 warning signs you're over sharenting.

Image: CC BY 2.0