Shar­ing is not al­ways car­ing for kids

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - ANNABEL HEN­NESSY

PAR­ENTS who over­share photos of their chil­dren could be putting them at risk of longterm men­tal health is­sues, ex­perts have warned.

In­ter­net safety ex­perts are con­cerned about so-called “shar­enters” mak­ing money off 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 that the trend was un­eth­i­cal and could at­tract preda­tors or cre­ate self-es­teem is­sues for young peo­ple.

“It gives young chil­dren a false sense of self-worth and pop­u­lar­ity,” she 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 ide­ally should not share their kids’ 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,” she said.

But Bec Graham, who runs @al­labouthar­lowrayne for her daugh­ter Har­low, 6, with more than 34,000 fol­low­ers, said it had helped them bond.

Ms Graham, who has posted more than 3500 photos since Har­low was 18 months old, said she had re­ceived thou­sands of dol­lars worth of clothes as part of “col­lab­o­ra­tions”. She said she spent sev­eral hours a day screen­ing out sus­pi­cious ac­counts, and kept lo­ca­tions se­cret.

“Har­low demon­strates a high level of self-re­spect and, if any­thing, her con­fi­dence … has el­e­vated,” she said.

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