Surely th­ese par­ents can’t be share dinkum

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - EX­CLU­SIVE ANNABEL HEN­NESSY

PAR­ENTS who over­share photos 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 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 the trend could at­tract preda­tors or cre­ate self­es­teem is­sues for young peo­ple. “It gives young chil­dren a false sense of self-worth and popu- lar­ity,” 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 (pic­tured) said par­ents ide­ally 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.”

ReachOut chief ex­ec­u­tive Ash­ley De Silva agreed there could be men­tal health risks as chil­dren grew older: “Images posted now could be very chal­leng­ing for teenagers and young adults to deal with in the fu­ture.” But Bec Gra­ham, who runs a pub­lic so­cial me­dia ac­count for her six-year-old daugh­ter Har­low 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 had she re­ceived thou­sands of dol­lars worth of clothes as part of “col­lab­o­ra­tions”. She said she spends sev­eral hours a day screen­ing out any sus­pi­cious ac­counts, and also keeps lo­ca­tions se­cret.

“Har­low demon­strates a high level of self-re­spect and, if any­thing, her con­fi­dence ... has el­e­vated,” Ms Gra­ham said. “Her school mates are sup­port­ive and if one day she chooses to not want to con­tinue with In­sta­gram, well, that will be the end of an awe­some In­sta ride.

“I think while the two-di­men­sional world can in­deed be a dan­ger­ous plat­form, we as par­ents must ed­u­cate our­selves on cy­ber-safety ... re­main vig­i­lant and utilise com­mon sense as it’s our duty of care to do so.”

Par­ents must ed­u­cate our­selves on cy­ber safety ... it’s our duty of care to do so.

In­sta­gram mum Bec Gra­ham

Six-year-old Har­low’s mum Bec Gra­ham care­fully screens ac­count @al­labouthar­lowrayne and says it helped them bond.

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