The Jakarta Post
People love to share — or show off — happy moments on their social media accounts, including their children’s activities, even while they are underage.
Social media platforms Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. But in Indonesia, some parents — regular people or influencers — create accounts for their children to “keep track of the memories” as their children grow up, as we have reported previously.
Their intention may only be to share the children they adore with the world. However, they may not realize the hidden threat of oversharing their children’s pictures.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has recorded an increasing number of instances of child pornography and child-exploiting cybercrime, such as bullying, since 2014. The reported cases reached 679 last year.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted, in 2015, a study by Australia’s new Children’s eSafety Commissioner that innocent photos of children accounted for up to half the material found on pedophile sites. From those sites, investigators recovered tens of millions of photos of children doing everyday activities that were originally posted on Facebook or Instagram.
Parents are unlikely to ask for permission from their children to upload their pictures. Experts have warned that these actions could put children under stress and compromise their online privacy.
Parents of teenagers have also been advised to monitor their children’s online activities to prevent them from becoming targets of cyberbullying or pornography.
British data analytics firm YouGov surveyed 863 children aged between 8 and 15 in August and found that 44 percent of the children wanted to be able to approve the photos their parents posted, while 7 percent wanted to ban their parents from posting any images of them.
Cybersecurity expert Alfons Tanujaya from computer security firm Vaksinkom, has cited the risk of identity theft, where scammers steal and misuse children’s photos found on social media. Big-data technology has made it possible to process a collection of someone’s photos from various angles into a facial-recognition database, which can be used by scammers to infiltrate secured systems.
According to Forbes, thousands of parents have not been educated properly about the potential danger of oversharing material related to their children.
A survey by the Pew Research Center on American teens has found that apart from cyberbullying — in the form of name-calling and spreading rumors — children feel pressure to perform and appear perfect for their parents’ online posts.
Child psychologist Amanda Margia Agustario has called on parents to reconsider sharing their children’s pictures on social media. She said it was important for parents to ask themselves whether they were sharing the pictures online for the benefit of their children or for themselves.
Let’s remind the parents among us to be wise in using social media, especially in protecting the privacy of their children. After all, we want what’s best for children — to let them live happy lives.