An online childhood
Over 90% of US toddlers have an online history. And every word and picture you load now could follow your child forever.

It’s tempting to load up millions of pictures of our children. They are so cute and gorgeous, and we want to share that with our family and friends – including the ones we only know in cyberspace.

A new study shows that the majority of children in countries where the internet is widely used have an online presence before they can even read themselves.

According to, Internet security company AVG surveyed mothers in USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and found that 81 percent of children under the age of two currently have some kind of digital profile or footprint, with images of them posted online.

In the United States the figure is 92%. That means fewer than 1 in 10 children have no online presence by the age of 2.

Even unborn children have an internet presence, with 23% making their first appearance in a scan posted online.

We’re not likely to start going backward any time soon. With families spread over the globe as never before, many of us rely on our Facebook, Flickr or You Tube posts to keep family up to date with the development of our little ones.

AVG CEO JR Smith urges parents to think carefully about two points:

‘First, you are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life. 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?

‘Secondly, it reinforces the need for parents to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles. Otherwise, sharing a baby’s picture and specific information may not only be shared with friends and family but with the whole online world.’

Loading up pics and info of your child is fun and harmless, as long as you are mindful that his teen peers and prospective employers may one day be doing a Google search on his or her name and spot that indiscreet naked photo, or your moan about her drug habit.
Like with any internet tool, it is a case of caveat user.

How much do you share online about your kids?

Read more by Adele Hamilton

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