February 10 was Safer Internet Day with the theme of ‘lets create a better internet together”.
The day was about understanding the positives of the online world, but also highlighted that as many as a third of young people are still being bullied online.
I do of course worry about some of the things that young people share online but I must say that I worry more about what parents are sharing about their children.
I was interviewed by Radio 4 a while ago about Revenge Porn, a behaviour of jilted partners maliciously sharing intimate images of their exes online as revenge for being dumped.
This is clearly very distressing and was made illegal last year.
However, adults are sharing images of their children from foetal scans, to naked bath time pictures and the child has no say in this what so ever. Children being born now are having their entire lives shared publicly.
What will they think when they grow up?
I’m seeing parents disrespecting each other and their children on social media.
We forget that this stuff stays around and can be found by all sorts of people sometime in the future.
What would George Orwell say about it all?
Can you imagine how we would respond if a government asked us to hand over all our personal information and every detail of our child’s lives?
Yet Facebook provides the tools for this and we dive in head first shouting Yippee, without a thought for the long term consequences. I know that many adults do not understand privacy settings and reach and are mortified when I explain that those bath time photos can appear on a total strangers Facebook wall.
But then today I saw a business coach had posted images of her naked young girls on her business page - which she knows is totally public. Why?
Adults must act as positive role models here, which means that we have to provide opportunities for parents to learn and ask questions about safe use of the internet and social media if we are going to support our children.
I am currently discussing working with parents via local schools.
If any community groups would like to get involved to make this happen, please do get in touch.
Stay safe online.