Monday, July 15, 2024

Are Mummy Bloggers Putting Their Children At Risk?

Just Another Mummy Blogger? Think Again

You’ve probably seen mummy bloggers popping up all over your Instagram feed, right? They’re sharing everything from their toddlers’ tantrums to their teenagers’ triumphs. It’s all about building a community, getting some solidarity, and maybe even making a few bucks from those adorable baby clothing endorsements. It’s all good fun and being just another Mummy Blogger can even become a well-paying job, right? But have you ever stopped to wonder what’s really at stake after Mummy Bloggers hit “post”?

While it seems harmless to share a cute picture of your little one, the reality is that there are very real dangers for children in this very normal and natural activity. It’s great to capture and share memories, but it’s also important to think about who might be seeing these images and what they might do with them. As courtrooms around the world are seeing, the risks are real!

Mummy Bloggers
Image: Bernard Hermant

Privacy
First off, there’s the obvious privacy issue. When you share your child’s life online, you’re putting their personal moments out there for the world to see. Cute first-day-of-school photos? Adorable. But they also reveal a lot – like what school they go to, their age, and sometimes even where you live. It’s not just friends and family who see this. Strangers, and potentially unsavory characters, can also access this information.

Consent
And then there’s the issue of consent. It’s easy to forget that while these little ones are adorable content goldmines, they’re also individuals with their own rights. They can’t really say, “Hey mum, I’m not cool with you sharing that meltdown I had at the supermarket.” As they grow older, they might resent that their most vulnerable moments were broadcast for likes and comments.

Children in the garden
Image: Mieke Campbell

Embarrasment and Bullying
The digital footprint Mummy Bloggers are creating for their children can have long term consequences. Long before they even understand what social media is, children of Mummy Bloggers have an online presence. Fast forward a decade or two, and those cute bathtub photos or hilarious potty training videos might not seem so cute or hilarious to a teenager applying for college or a job. While they could be embarrassed over content over which they had no control, bullying is often a common side-effect for school years.

Identity Theft
Mummy Bloggers also risk exposing their kids to identity theft. Sharing names, birthdates, and other personal details might seem harmless, but it’s the kind of info that cybercriminals can use to steal identities. Not likely, we hear you say? Maybe, but it has an will continue to happen.

Mummy Bloggers
Image: Ben Wicks

Pornography
Predators can access these images, often taken from social media platforms where parents share innocent snapshots of their children. Once acquired, these photos can be manipulated or used as-is on illicit pornographic sites and these images can be circulated among criminal networks. This horrifying misuse underscores the importance of protecting children’s digital footprints and being vigilant about what is shared online.

How Does it Happen?
Imagine this: you post a cute photo of your child at their favourite playground, tag the location, and share a fun caption about their love for the swings. Seems harmless, right? But predators can use this information to track and groom children. Even if you don’t tag the location, digital geotracking allows predators to discover locations.

Predators are skilled at piecing together details from various posts to build a profile of your child’s routines, interests, and frequent locations. A good starting point for them is to find people online who appear to be just another Mummy Blogger. They might start by commenting innocuously on your posts to build trust. As they gather more information, they can create fake profiles, pretending to be someone your child’s age or a parent with similar interests.

Grooming
They observe details like the child’s favourite activities, school, and friends, then use this knowledge to build a connection. They often pose as young people of the same age, or trustworthy adults, engaging in friendly conversations. Over time, they can manipulate the child into sharing personal information, sexualised images, or even arranging face-to-face meetings.

Just Another Mummy Blogger
Image: Elizaveta Dushechkina

Stranger-Danger
If anything could be worse, all that stranger-danger talk goes out the window, when someone unknown to your child turns up to collect them from school (yes, they know where it is), and reassures them that mummy had to take little brother to the doctor and has asked them to collect you. If all those stranger-danger lessons have had any effect, your little one will ask who they are. From everything gleaned on socials, it’s easy to put them at ease. “Oh, don’t you remember me? I’m mummy’s friend and I came to her birthday party last weekend with everyone else. You know, when Aunty Jules made that amazing Chanel Cake for Mummy and Daddy burnt the chops on the barbeque?”

Remember when Kim Kardashian was tied up and robbed of her jewellery and valuables in a Paris hotel after thieves tracked her activities online? Online safety is a thing!

For anyone who is “just another Mummy Blogger”, it’s crucial to carefully restrict privacy settings, limit specific details, and be aware of the dangers as well as the benefits of social media when posting about your children.

Featured Image: Daiga Ellaby

Want a change of subject? You might like to see: Coachella 2024: Vintage Trends Dominate

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