New Delhi: In a bid to stay connected with friends and family, around 67% people in India are willing to share photos of their children on social media platforms, despite the risk of giving away their children’s personal information. Around 42% parents share images on public social media accounts, compared with 55% parents sharing images of their children on private social media accounts, according to a report by cyber security company McAfee.

“More than half of the parents surveyed (67%) admit they have or would share a photo of their child in his/her school uniform, despite the risk of giving away personal information, thereby paving the way for stalkers to get added details on their child’s whereabouts," the report said.

The report titled The Age of Consent reveals that 40.5% of parents in India post a photo or video of their child at least once a day on their social media accounts, while 36% post once a week. The report is based on a survey of 1,000 parents of children aged between 1 month and 16 years across Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

“Most parents identified the following concerns associated with sharing images online, including paedophilia (16.5%), stalking (32%), kidnapping (43%) and cyber bullying (23%)," according to the report. The survey found parents from Mumbai to be the most active, with 48% posting a picture of their child on social media at least once a day, against other metros like Delhi (38.5%) and Bangalore (31%).

Parents from Bangalore (59%) exercise highest caution and post pictures of their children only from private social media accounts, closely followed by Mumbai (57%) and Delhi (48.5%). Parents from Bangalore (54.5%) are also most vigilant and admit they would never share a picture of their child in a school uniform, while parents from Delhi (77%) and Mumbai (71%), admit to doing so.

However, across the country, majority of parents still believe they have the right to share images of their child online without consulting them first — Mumbai (66.5%) followed by Delhi (61%) and Bangalore (55%).

“Posting about kids could compromise their personal information. The responsibility lies with parents to understand the implications of their social media habits/actions and the repercussions the child may face," according to Venkat Krishnapur, vice-president of engineering and managing director, McAfee said.

The report also suggests tips for parents for safe sharing of photos, which includes avoiding the disclosure of location when a photo is uploaded and sharing of photos and other social media posts only with “intended audience" such as close family and friends.

The importance of data related to children has also been recognised by an expert group headed by ex-Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna in the draft Personal Data Protection Bill,2018. The Bill laid down procedures for processing personal data of children below 18 years of age. The bill, which has been put up for public feedback, will become an Act once it is passed by Parliament.

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