On­line pho­tos warn­ing

The West Australian - - NEWS - Annabel Hen­nessy

Par­ents who over­share pho­to­graphs of their chil­dren could be putting them at risk of long-term men­tal health is­sues, ex­perts have warned.

In­ter­net safety ex­perts are con­cerned about the grow­ing num­ber of so-called “shar­enters” mak­ing money from their chil­dren’s pho­tos via so­cial me­dia spon­sor­ship.

Cy­ber Safety So­lu­tions di­rec­tor Su­san McLean said, at a re­cent school talk, a Year 2 stu­dent said “she couldn’t delete her In­sta­gram be­cause she was a brand am­bas­sador”.

She said the trend could at­tract preda­tors or cre­ate self-es­teem is­sues for young peo­ple.

“It gives young chil­dren a false sense of self-worth and pop­u­lar­ity,” Ms McLean said. “It’s worse than a beauty pageant as it’s out there for the whole world to see.”

Esafety Com­mis­sioner Julie In­man Grant said par­ents should not share their chil­dren’s pho­tos on pub­lic ac­counts.

“Shar­ing im­ages of your chil­dren on­line — of­ten re­ferred to as shar­ent­ing’— with­out their knowl­edge or con­sent may lead to prob­lems for your child down the track, rang­ing from em­bar­rass­ment to de­vel­op­ing a poor un­der­stand­ing of con­sent and re­spect them­selves,” Ms In­man Grant said.

“Par­ents should be aware of ex­tremely con­cern­ing prac­tices where per­fectly in­no­cent im­ages of chil­dren, wear­ing swimwear for in­stance, can be har­vested ... and placed in in­sid­i­ous on­line com­mu­ni­ties.”

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