SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Nearly every two-year-old (92%) in the United States has an online presence and that presence, oftentimes, started before the child was even born.

A 2010 survey by AVG, an internet security company, found a third of all children born in the US first appeared on social media as a newborn. A quarter of all moms and dads surveyed admitted they posted a picture of their sonogram.

“Sharenting” as it’s known is the common practice of parents sharing pictures of their child online.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Kara Bagot, says parents aren’t thinking about the consequences of posting a child’s picture online.

“About half of parents will not only put a picture online but also at least a first name, and potentially a last name. Then maybe up to a quarter of parents will put the date of birth as well. That can be really dangerous,” she said.

The University of Michigan surveyed parents and their children and found both groups agree that parents should do a better job asking a child’s permission before posting a picture or information. The researchers determined the children, who ranged in age from 10 to 17, specifically did not want their parents posting negative information about them, including unflattering pictures or stories about a child getting into trouble. The children cited a number of examples:

  • Naked baby pictures
  • Personal information
  • Dating and/or friendship status

Research done by the University of Florida Levin College of Law came up with some “Best Practices” parents can follow:

  • Familiarize Themselves with the Privacy Policies of the Sites with Which They Share
  • Set Up Notifications to Alert Them When Their Child’s Name Appears in a Google Search Result
  • Consider Sometimes Sharing Anonymously (on blogs and chat board)
  • Use Caution Before Sharing Their Child’s Actual Location
  • Give Their Child “Veto Power” over Online Disclosures, Including Images, Quotes, Accomplishments, and Challenges
  • Consider Not Sharing Pictures That Show Their Children in Any State of Undress
  • Consider the Effect Sharing Can Have on Their Child’s Current and Future Sense of Self and Well-Being

Tonight at 10– the pictures parents don’t think twice about posting that poses a major safety risk for their children.

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