Put your cell phone down and pay attention to your children
Children’s personal brand doomed before it starts?
So are we as parents dooming our children’s personal brand before they have even had a chance to create one themselves? Given the proliferation of cell phones and the ability to take pictures/videos/live stream and then share in near real time on social media we have the ability to record pretty much every aspect of our children’s life from birth. In a previous article I discussed how obsessed we are with our cell phones where we are seemingly sharing content on line and checking our Facebook status every 5 minutes in fear that we might have missed something (FOMO or “fear of missing out”). Are we getting hooked on technology so much so that we can’t separate ourselves from our digital world and where, as a result, our children are being unwittingly plunged into the social media cauldron? When it comes to sharing photos/videos of your children on social media what is acceptable to post on line or do some of you not post anything?
Kids are fighting back
So you have pretty much documented online your kids growing up, warts and all? If so, beware there are now children, all grown up, taking their parents to court to get images of their childhood removed from Facebook. For example, in Austria where an 18 year old is bringing a case to court, she said 18-year-old is suing her parents to get images of her childhood removed from Facebook. She is recorded as having said of her parents, during the proceedings, “They knew no shame and no limit and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot. “Every stage was photographed and then made public.” (from http://www.digitaltrends.com/ article). Not only are children fighting back, authorities in France have warned parents they could face significant fines and possible jail time for publishing photos of an intimate nature of their children on social media without their permission, due the country’s privacy laws. Granted these are pretty extreme outcomes for any child to take to protect their privacy but this should really be the exception rather than the norm.
Just how bad is it?
In a study last year by Nominet they stated that by the time children turn 5 there is on average of 973 photos of them on line (which equates to 195 shared per year). This increases to around 200 photos a year shared by parents of children under 16. The most popular application for uploading/sharing images unsurprisingly is Facebook (53%), with Instagram (14%) and Twitter (12%) being the other platforms of choice. Does that number seem about right? And is it only going to get worse? What hope do our children have when it comes to defining their own personal brand – should we as parents be thinking twice about what we post online? Or are we as parents just posting photos online of how well our children are doing at school or a sporting event, turning Facebook into “skitebook”? Does this type of parental posting actually help our children’s personal brand or is it more for the benefit of parents?
How parents can help
Even as our children grow up, they are bombarded by social media with all that it entails such as trolling, cyberbullying, privacy breaches etc. as well as getting sucked into various online platforms (that are trending at the time). It is up to us as parents to educate our children on both the good and bad of being online and that should include a conversation about their personal brand. Parents should think about what they upload with regards to their children and ask themselves, “would my child actually thank me for sharing this once they have grown up?” Being more aware of the social media trends including privacy settings and what is the latest thing is all part of the world that parents and children now live and taking a blasé attitude to social media is no longer appropriate, and it could be detrimental to you and your children.
Sharing on line a few tips for Parents:
- Parents – “would your child actually thank you for sharing once they are all grown up”;
- Educate your children on the good and bad of social media;
- Support and help guide your children’s personal brand;
- Frequently check your privacy settings on your social media profiles (and also get your children to do the same);
- Ask permission to share photos/videos on social media particularly for older children;
- Use the most appropriate media to share, both from a public and private perspective using apps such as kin2kin, messenger, whats app or through sharing a private folder on Dropbox/OneDrive.
As of the 8th August 2017 I am still on the front page of Google (at number 6 on the list) when searching for “children’s personal brand”.