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What is sharenting?

Sharenting
Too much? Posting pics of kids can be a security risk

No idea what sharenting means? Neither did I until I was asked to do a BBC radio interview about it this morning (yes, that’s a humble brag, get over it).

Sharenting is this week’s made-up PR term for sharing too much information about your children on social media. Parents who post so many pics of their kids on Facebook that you could print them off and have a real-time flickbook of little Jacob’s first six years are presumably sharents. And you’re bad, bad parents if you post 23 pics of Jacob’s first day in reception. So says headline-seeking Barclays, who have warned of the dangers of sharenting. So, what, you may wonder, are those risks?

The dangers of sharenting

According to Barclays, the big risk of sharing data about your kids is that it could be harvested to later steal their identity.

Barclays summons up Mystic Meg levels of pure guesswork to estimate that another decade of sharenting will produce 7.4 million incidents per year of identity fraud by 2030, according to this report on the BBC.

“Through social media, it has never been easier for fraudsters to gather the key pieces of information required to steal someone’s identity,” Jodie Gilbert, head of digital safety for Barclays told the Beeb. “It is vital to think before you post, and to carry out regular audits of your social media accounts to prevent that information from falling into the wrong hands.”

Sage advice, that. Although what are the actual risks of posting that pic of Jacob on his first day at Middleswots Primary School?

Primarily that fraudsters use those photos to build up a personal profile of your child. Banks routinely use information such as the name of your first school, your favourite pet or your dad’s Christian name for security questions. Banks such as Barclays, who instead of improving their security prefer to lecture parents about doing something perfectly natural. Like sharing photos of their kids.

There’s fault on both sides here. Parents are daft to upload tons of personal photos to social media and then leave the privacy settings set to public, letting literally anyone see their posts. Banks are to blame for using weak security questions to secure our accounts .

Until the banks find a decent way of preventing identity theft, maybe lay off the sports day photos on Facebook?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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