Do People Really Want to See Your Sonogram in Outer Mongolia?
Sheesh. Too much information, kid.
This is why babies should not have Facebook pages. Yet, everyone seems to have an online presence these days. Even babies.
PC World magazine reports that it's common for children to have an online footprint even before they're born. And many children in developing countries have some sort of digital profile before their second birthday.
The report comes from a study by AVG Technologies, an Internet security firm. According to PC World, researchers interviewed mothers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. They found nearly a fourth of the children in these countries have digital lives before they're born.
Proud parents are posting pregnancy news -- complete with sonograms -- for all to see.
"Fools' names, like fools' faces, often appear in public places," goes an old bit of folk wisdom. However, the Internet provides a pool where even the mildest narcissist can't help but be mesmerized by his own reflection. We apparently extend this self-fascination to our children.
In the United States, PC World reports, 92 percent of children have a digital presence by age 2. In the European Union, that number drops to 73 percent.
Mothers were asked to rate -- on scale of 1 to 5 -- how much they worry about all this information about their kids floating around cyberspace. The average level of concern was 3.5. Canadian moms worried the least at 3.1, while Spanish moms worried the most at 3.9.
"It's shocking to think that a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back 10 to 15 years at most, while the vast majority of children today will have online presence by the time they are 2 years old -- a presence that will continue to build throughout their whole lives," AVG Technologies CEO J.R. Smith tells PC World.
Smith suggests parents stop and think a moment before tossing their kids into the Web.
"First, you are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life," he tells PC World. "What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you've uploaded in future?"
Smith tells the magazine the study also reinforces the need for parents to be aware of privacy settings.
"Otherwise, sharing a baby's picture and specific information may not only be shared with friends and family, but with the whole online world," he says.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.