New research conducted by Barclays reveals that children are being put at identity theft risk by parents oversharing on social media, in a trend dubbed “sharenting”, to the point at which it could annually cost the future generation £676 million by 2030.
The research revealed that 82 percent of parents share personal information online and 30 percent of parents include personal information, such as kids’ names, in their passwords; with the impact likely to result in up to 7.4 million instances of online identity fraud by 2030.
Barclays Head of Digital Safety, Jodie Gilbert reiterated the importance of parents being more cautious regarding children’s online presence saying: “Careless online behaviour and insufficient privacy settings can reveal key details about yourself, your friends and your family, it is vital to think before you post and regularly audit social media accounts to prevent information from falling into the hands of fraudsters.”
Implications and Risks of Sharenting
The impact of sharenting, Barclays notes, may not be felt for many years. Once children start earning, fraudsters will find it easier to discover a name, date of birth and address to steal their identity. Parents, it emphasises, are frequently putting their children’s names, date of birth, house number, mother’s maiden name, place of birth, first pet and more online, along with the name of their school and their favourite sports team.
Barclays points out the fact that it is not just the children at risk, parents sharing personal information in their passwords can also be at risk.
Reviewing the privacy settings on all social media accounts, changing passwords regularly at least every three months and avoiding predictable passwords would keep attackers away and other potential problems such as data leakage.
Common practices include thinking twice before posting personal information such as personal or family detail can limit the amount of personal data on the internet. Furthermore, speaking to friends and family members about concerns can help limit leaking personal information.
Finally, being open and clear with children about social media and how it is used appropriately should be taught to from start in order to protect themselves.