As parents, we’re always making decisions that will impact the lives of our children. Parents today have to decide whether or not they want their kids to have a digital footprint, and if so, how much of one? Surely, you don’t want it to look like Bigfoot’s footprint, but is a small online presence okay?
Chances are, your child already has an online presence, even if he or she was just born yesterday. With the majority of parents and grandparents on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, one simple upload of a photo instantly gives your child an online presence. Mention him or her in a status update, and you’re well on your way to creating a digital footprint that will last a lifetime.
Don’t be too startled. By the time your child hits grade school, he or she will be begging for a Facebook account for Christmas. Although social media sites have an age limit of 13, kids either lie about their age or seek parental approval to get past sign-up. It’s estimated that 7.5 million Facebook users are below the minimum age, and 5 million are 10 years-old or younger.
Although most experts agree that there should be strict monitoring for the younger users, it seems as if no one really pays attention to the age limit in the first place. For these reasons, Facebook is offering new tools that help the Facebook community work together to report any pictures or status updates that are offensive. The goal is to create a more cautious community so that kids are safe online.
As for your child’s digital footprint, always remember that what you post today will be there tomorrow. It’s not harmful to post photos, but refrain from posting pictures that could one day be embarrassing for your child or used for cyber-bullying. Teens should think twice too, as their late-night partying pics could stop them from landing a job in the future.
It’s also up to parents to protect what they do post online, by adjusting privacy settings or by emailing photos only. There are also programs where only the people you give a password and username to will be able to access the photos. Also limit the information provided about your child, as identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and criminals only need a few small details about your child.