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The Collins English dictionary recently added a new word to its lexicon – Sharenting. What is “Sharenting”? Collins describes sharenting as, “the habitual use of social media to share news, images, etc of one’s children”. In the social media age, many parents are quick to share each and every one of their children’s life events on their profiles. While being a proud parent is nothing to be ashamed of, are there consequences to “sharenting”?

Potential Risks Of Sharenting

Parents may not be aware of just how much of their child’s information they are sharing, even with the most innocent of posts. Let’s say you make a post to celebrate your child’s birth. The first thing you would easily give away would be the child’s birthdate. You also most likely will reveal their name, possibly even their full name. This may not seem harmful, but a person’s full name and birthdate can be used in the creation of a synthetic identity. It can happen even when they are a child, or criminals can wait until they are older. The information doesn’t change.

One topic that many people overlook is password protection. Many of us use passwords that can be easily remembered. The sharing of personal information can be used to hack into your accounts. Names of pets, schools, birthdates, maiden names, sports teams you support – many people use these types of things as parts of their passwords. Sharing this information on social media may unintentionally aid criminals in accessing more of your personal information.

How Can I Protect Myself?

To avoid “oversharenting”, follow these guidelines to self-monitor what you post and to protect your information.

  • Frequently review your security settings on each of your social media accounts. Are your privacy settings as strict as they can be? Who can see your posts?
  • Set up strong passwords on all accounts which house personal information (that is pretty much every website you have to log into). You should use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords should be 12-18 characters long. We advise using a password manager to store your passwords for easy access and use unique passwords for every website. Since you most likely won’t be able to remember all of these, a password manager makes it quick and easy to log in to your favorite sites. Never store passwords in your web browser.
  • Before you post to social media, think about what you’re posting and what information you’ll be sharing.

What is “sharenting”? We hope you have a grasp on the concept now and are better equipped to protect your children’s personal information. Barclays Bank predicts that “sharenting” will account for ⅔ of identity theft facing children by the end of the next decade. Now is the time to truly think about what you’re posting to social media.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data