We live in an increasingly digital world. Our children are no exception. In fact, in many homes, kids are exposed to the Internet and emerging technologies earlier than ever before.
I know of babies that can navigate a parent’s mobile device with ease. Moms and dads freely share photos of children online through social media. Our executive producer’s little two-year-old even figured out how to call him one morning! All by herself!
As WHNT News 19’s technology reporter and new mommy-to-be, I find myself thinking a lot about this. Where should parents draw the line when it comes to their babies and technology? And with the Web in particular?
I totally recommend using Google to look up prospective baby names. I mean, you don’t want to name your little one something and find out a porn star shares that namesake *after* the fact, right? I’m less sure about taking steps to protect your child’s “reputation” on the Web before they are born. Is it really necessary?
I’ve read many reports suggesting that you should reserve your child’s domain name (i.e. sallysmith.com) as soon as they are born. That way, if they ever want to start a business or use a website for self-promotion they won’t have to hope the domain is available. It’s a nice idea I guess but it typically costs money and you’ll be holding onto that domain for years.
Figuring out how a new baby and social media fit together is even more complicated. For example, I’ve heard of parents creating Facebook or Twitter accounts for a child (despite age restriction policies from those outlets) before they are even born! Sure, social networks can be great for sharing photos and updates but how safe is the information really?
Facebook has long struggled with privacy issues and if there’s one thing we know about the Internet, it’s that anything you put there – photos, videos, etc. – is more than likely out there forever.
Will your kids, once grown, regret having bathtime photos shared with others? If they already have a social media account set up by parents, will they be lured into using it perhaps earlier than they should?
There’s also a real security risk. Uploading a smartphone picture for example, of your child at a local park or a local street, could potentially make them a target for sophisticated predators.
Parents, how do you feel about exposing your baby on the web? Do you limit the way you share images or updates about them? Do you embrace baby’s presence online whole-heartedly?
Sound off here!