Increasingly, young children are using phones and tablets to create photos and videos and share them online. Whilst this can be fun, sharing images can also be risky.
It’s important your child understands what’s ok to share and what they should discuss with you first.
What are the risks?
● Once an image has been shared, you can never be sure who has seen it, saved it or shared it.
● Personal or embarrassing pictures in the wrong hands can lead to bullying.
● Knowing that others have seen embarrassing images can cause stress and anxiety, and affect a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
● Unwanted pictures online could affect educational and job opportunities later in life.
● Sharing images, particularly sexualised images, can increase the likelihood of a child receiving inappropriate sexual contact from strangers online.
What can you do to reduce the risks?
Talk to them
If your child is sharing images it’s a good idea to discuss the type of things that you think are ok to share and things which you wouldn’t want them to share.
If your child is too young to fully understand the consequences of sharing pictures and videos online it's important they know to check with you before posting anything online.
If you or your child are worried about a photo or video that they have already shared, sent or posted online, talk to them. Make sure they know that you are not angry and do not blame them. Ask them to explain what has happened, and tell them you will make a plan together to put things right.
Stop the image spreading online
If you’re worried about an image your child has shared online, it is a good idea to help them remove it from any sites it’s been shared on. There are a number of different steps you can take:
The quickest way to get content removed from the internet is for the person who posted it to take it down. If your child posted the image using their account on a social media site, ask them to log in and delete it.
If someone else posted the image or re-posted it, ask them to delete it from any sites they've shared it on - your child's school may be able to help identify them.
If you don't know who has posted it, or they refuse to take it down, then report the image to any sites it's been posted on. All major social media sites have ways to report content. It's not guaranteed that they will take it down but if it breaks their terms and conditions or 'community guidelines' it should be removed.
You should act especially quickly to remove images containing the following:
● Nudity or suggestive poses.
● Details which might identify a child – for example, a school uniform.
● Details which might identify or embarrass other children.
You might also encourage your children to wait until they are older before they start sharing on social media. You should be thirteen years old to get an account on most social networking sites.