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  • New McAfee Survey Finds Parents Ignore their Own Concerns of Sharing their Children’s Images on Social Media

    Published on August 28, 2018

    Mumbai : Today McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, announced results from its latest survey, ‘The Age of Consent’, and found 40.5% of parents in India post a photo or video of their child at least once a day on their social media accounts with 36% posting a picture of their child once a week – highlighting the extent of child exposure on the web arising out of a desire to stay connected with friends and family. Most parents identified the following concerns associated with sharing images online including pedophilia (16.5%), stalking (32%), kidnapping (43%) and cyberbullying (23%), but many (62%) don’t even consider if their child would consent to their image being posted online. What’s even more alarming is that a whopping 76% of parents say they are aware that the images of their children posted online could end up in the wrong hands.


    However, despite voicing these worries this concern doesn’t translate into action, as many parents admit to still including their children’s personal information and private details in online images. For example, more than half of the parents surveyed (67%) admit that they have or would share a photo of their child in their school uniform despite the risk of giving away personal information thus paving the way for stalkers to get added details on their child’s whereabouts. While 55% of parents only share images of their child on private social media accounts, 42% are still sharing images on public social media accounts.


    The survey also found parents from Mumbai to be most active with 48% posting a picture of their child on social media at least once per day in comparison to other metros like Delhi (38.5%) and Bangalore (31%). Parents from Bangalore (59%) exercise highest caution and post pictures of their children only from private social media accounts, closely followed by Mumbai (57%) and Delhi (48.5%). Parents from Bangalore (54.5%) are also most vigilant and admit they would never share a picture of their child in a school uniform, while parents from Delhi (77%) and Mumbai (71%), admit to doing so. However, across the country, majority of parents still believe they have the right to share images of their child online without consulting them first – Mumbai (66.5%) followed by Delhi (61%) and Bangalore (55%).


    Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director – McAfee, adds, “Social Media is a great way to connect with friends and family, to share what’s going on in our lives with loved ones. However, the survey reveals parents are not giving enough consideration to what they post online and how it could harm their children. Posting kids’ information may compromise their personal information. Responsibility lies with parents to understand the implications of their social media habits/actions and the repercussions the child may face.”


    While it’s clear that parents are worried about physical risks to their children’s safety, results indicate less concern about the emotional risks. While 46% of parents are concerned that posting an image of their child online could be embarrassing or lead to anxiety, they do it anyway. Emotional side effects should not be discounted. According to a survey from ComRes, more than one in four children between 10 and 12 years old feel embarrassed, anxious or worried when their parents post pictures of them online.


    Interestingly, it appears moms consider the embarrassing side effect more than dads, with 47% mothers admitting that they would never post images their children would be embarrassed by, in comparison to 38% of dads.  However, when they do, mothers (63%) are also less likely to seek their child’s permission before posting an image of them on social media, as opposed to fathers (55%). The survey also highlights how mothers are more conscious about online behavior when it comes to their children with 73% admitting they would never share an image of their child under 2 without clothes on over social media in comparison to men (66%). On the other hand, the dangers that discourage the two are varied as fathers (47%) are most concerned about the danger of identity theft while mothers (49%) are most concerned about the image of their children being edited/photo shopped.


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