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Sharenting: Are you putting too much out on social media?

(MGN Online)

The birth of a newborn or just taking a cute picture of your kid, moments later it's posted on social media.

Welcome to the world of "Sharenting."

"I really think it comes down to the parent," said Laci Cook, a Kirksville mother. "If they are proud and they are excited and that's what they want to share with their friends and family, I say go for it."

But, could sharing too much be potentially dangerous?

According to research from the University of Florida written by Stacey Steinberg, 92 percent of two-year-olds in the United States have an online presence.

"Anybody that [is] friends with friends can have access to those pictures, and then they can do whatever they want to with those pictures,"said Kirksville Police Detective Steve Feeney.

Even that picture you find funny and your child may find embarrassing could have a harmful impact.

"There's a correlation between parents who share those embarrassing photos that then lead to kids eventually posting pictures of themselves that they shouldn't be posting," Feeney said.

Steinberg accounts one instance where a mother posted photos of her twins potty training, only to find out strangers accessed the photos, downloaded and altered them, and then shared them on a website commonly used by pedophiles.

“That's terrifying," said Cook. "That's really frightening that something that is supposed to be meant as positive and as a proud parent moment can turn into that."

Posting seemingly harmless information like your child's name, age and birth date could even put them at risk for identity theft.

“Then the kids don't find out about this information until they go apply for college or apply for a vehicle loan or something like that," said Feeney. "Eighteen years later they find out that their credit is wrecked from information that's shared.”

"Sharenting" has led to questions about children's safety and the child's rights of consent.

KTVO wanted to get your opinion, so we asked viewers on Facebook in a poll if they thought it was okay for parents to post photos of their children essentially without consent. As you would expect, 86 percent of people who voted said yes, if a parent posts it's okay, while only 7 percent who voted said it should be up to their child. Another 7% had no opinion.

“Maybe we should ask some of the kids before we post some of these messages, and send those pictures, just to make sure that they're okay with it,” Feeney said.

As you know, kids might be infants or too young to give permission. That's where parents step in.

“I a lot of times see stuff on there that I wouldn't post, like 'Sophie peed in the potty three times today,' which is something that I wouldn't share, but personally if that’s a proud parent moment for them, I am liking it all the way," Cook said.

While there is no right answer to whether sharing photos of your child on social media is a good thing or bad thing, the most important tip is to be aware of what you post.


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