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‘Sharenting’: Parents should ask kids before posting their photos
According to a survey carried out by internet provider Telenet, some 40% of parents in Flanders do not ask their children if they can post their photo online before they do so. At the same time, 80% said they thought checking with their kids before posting was important.
Telenet has launched the campaign Sharenting to make parents aware of the issue and to offer advice about sharing on social media and how to discuss with children what can and what should not be shared online.
The campaign is part of the telecom company’s #TelenetGo project in which it tackles a variety of digital media issues and challenges. For the Sharenting campaign, Telenet encourages parents to ask their children if they are OK with a photo they want to share on social media. If the child says no, Telenet will print the photo and send it to the family in the mail.
As part of the campaign Telenet brought together several bloggers, psychologists and school directors to discuss the subject of children and social media. Videos of their talks can be found on the campaign website.
“Like four years ago parents would share a photo of their newborn baby without even thinking about it,” said Elke Boudry of MediaNest, which coaches parents on digital matters. “Today we see that parents are clearly more reserved with it and also consciously keep certain things offline. Telenet’s survey showed that 15% of parents have chosen to never share photos of their children online.”
Celebrity Kelly Pfaff, daughter of former football goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff, is also part of the campaign. The Pfaff family became TV sensations from 2002-11 when the reality series The Pfaffs followed their every move.
Kelly and her husband made the “conscious choice” to end the series when their eldest child turned 12. “We wanted them to be able to make mistakes without cameras being pointed at them,” she said. “Because images are forever. What if they apply for jobs later, and the boss googles them? You don’t want embarrassing moments to be found online.”
Boudry agrees that children and social media is a balancing act. “You don’t raise children all on your own,” she says. “You share tips and stories with friends, family and acquaintances, and parents search for support and inspiration on social media. So it’s no surprise that kids end up online from the moment they are born. Parents also have a lot of questions about the best way to handle all of this in order to protect their kids. That’s what this campaign is all about.”
Photo courtesy Telenet