A Guide To Safe Sharenting

04/09/2017 10:05 BST | Updated 04/09/2017 10:05 BST

Capturing your child's first day of school in a photograph and sharing it with friends and family is a proud moment for any parent.

And as sharenting and social media use continues to rise; more pictures than ever are expected to be shared online this month as tens of thousands of mums and dads post the infamous back to school snap.

A number of witty pictures - including ones with parents celebrating while their children looked miserable - have previously gone viral on social media.

An Ofcom study released earlier this month found 42% of parents say they share photos of their children, with half of these parents posting photos at least once a month.

Out of those parents, just over half said their children are happy for them to do so and the majority say they only share things their children would be happy with.

This shows that in most cases parents are well-versed on the impact of sharenting and are very sensible about what they post online.

And more than half of UK parents - 56% - said they did not post photos or videos of their children on social media, with 87% saying the main reason was they wanted their children's lives to remain private.

Internet Matters is encouraging mums and dads to follow a few simple rules to make sure they are thinking about the potential risks of over-sharing - providing help with ensuring social media privacy settings are up-to-date, to recognising how a photo posted online forms part of their child's digital footprint.

Once a picture is online, it can be tough to control where it can be seen and how it is used - despite being careful with your own privacy settings.

The internet has a long memory, and it can be very difficult to remove photos completely. Children have a right to dignity and privacy, both now and in the future. A good rule of thumb is not to post the sorts of pictures of your child that you wouldn't be happy sharing of yourself.

Before the arrival of social media, we would share pictures we had in our purse or wallet and pull them out to show specific people, which meant as parents we were in control of that picture.

But now many parents may have hundreds of friends and followers, which means that pictures you post of your children are seen by a much bigger audience and if you don't have the right settings, you run the risk of losing control of that picture.

So here's seven tips to ensure you're sharing safely and in full control of what you're posting online.

Seven tips on safe sharenting:

1. Don't post photos that might embarrass your child, now or later in life.

2. Ask permission before posting photos of someone else's child.  Avoid the awkwardness of a friend asking you to take something down.

3. Think carefully before posting photos of your child in their recognisable full school uniform, or outside their school - this can lead to easy identification of your children or their friends

4. Ask friends and family not to tag themselves in photos of your child - this can make your picture viewable by their friends and followers.

5. Check your privacy settings so only friends can see your posts and turn your location settings off, so people can't see exactly where you took it. Consider what's in your profile information and the other updates you post.

6. Don't post nude or nearly nude pictures of your child; even innocent pictures can be harvested, posted elsewhere online and potentially accessed by predators.

7. If you're posting pictures of your child in recognisable places, turn off location tagging.

For more information visit our https://www.internetmatters.org/