Venkat Krishnapur, vicepresident of engineering, McAfee India, says 76 per cent of Indian parents have considered the risks of posting their children’s pictures, but ignore their own concerns. “An average child today has a digital footprint right from the time they’re born and oversharing by today’s ‘parenting paparazzi’ can compromise children’s privacy and even their personal safety in some cases. The photos you share today will be a part of your kids’ digital footprint forever,” he cautions.
Health of the matter
It can have physiological effects too. Clinical psychotherapist Radhika Bapat advises parents to think of all the disclosures they make about their children. “Also, parents must remember that at some point they will be accountable to these now children, but later adults. There is some data that suggests that it can affect a child’s well-being and future life as a result of their childhood footprint being available online in perpetuity,” she says.
Aditi Sinha, psychotherapist and member of the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), adds that the potential risks outweigh the perks in this regard. “These pictures can be misused for digital kidnapping, by sexual predators and also by paedophilic porn sites,” she warns.
Privacy and consent
It is important that everybody familiarises themselves with the privacy policies of the website on which they share this content. “It would help if schools educate parents about concepts like autonomy and digital identity of children. Children by themselves don’t have the power or opportunity to express how they feel, especially feelings like embarrassment, humiliation or anger at their parents’ lack of an online code of conduct. But they have a moral right to an online clean slate,” adds Radhika.