In the digital era, it is never too early to have an online presence, whether you are a toddler, or still waiting to be born.
Last month, AVG polled 2,200 mothers with children under the age of 2 in the United States, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The findings show that in the United States, 92 percent of toddlers have a digital footprint, which is the highest among the surveyed countries. Overall, the percentage was 81 percent, with the five European countries in the study having the lowest percentage, 73 percent.
The survey found children’s online footprint started on average when they were around 6 months old, with a third having photos and other information posted online within weeks of their birth. Seven percent of babies and toddlers had email addresses set up by their parents, and 5 percent had profiles on social-networking sites.
But in some cases, babies’ online presence began before they were even born. Almost a quarter (23 percent) of the surveyed mothers said they had posted their prenatal sonogram scans on the Internet. Canadian mothers topped the list of the highest percentage at 37 percent, followed by American mothers at 34 percent. Less likely to post photos of their unborn? Japanese moms, with only 14 percent saying they had done so.
While it is understandable why parents would want to upload and share images of very young children with friends and families, they should think about how creating a digital history will follow a person for rest of his or life, said AVG Chief Information Officer JR Smith.
“Secondly, it reinforces the need for parents to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles,” he said. “Otherwise, sharing a baby's picture and specific information may not only be shared with friends and family, but with the whole online world.“
When asked what motivated them to post images of their babies online, more than 70 percent of the mothers surveyed said it was to share them with friends and family. However, 22 percent of mothers in the United States said they wanted to add more content to their social-networking profiles, while 18 percent of U.S. mothers said they were simply following their peers.