According to a recent survey by the Internet Security Firm AVG, more than 8 out of 10 babies worldwide under the age of 2 have some sort of online presence. A staggering 92% of American babies have an online presence compared to 73% of babies in Western Europe. The study covered 2,200 mothers in the UK and eight other industrialized countries. With new technology and social media outlets such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, mothers and fathers are eager to post photos and write about their children – even before the baby is born.
When these children become adults, it will be literally impossible for them to separate from their digital past. I can just see the photos and stories posted when they begin to run for office, try to find a job or meet a partner. Digital memory lasts forever, and it is very unforgiving. Those of us older than about 35 have had a chance to put our bad decisions behind us. Children born today will have every aspect of their life recorded, uploaded, backed up, forwarded and publicized completely without their consent.
It was found in England that 23% of babies have an online presence before they are even born. This figure is higher in the US, where 34% have posted sonograms online, while in Canada the figure is even higher at 37%. Another shocking statistic is that even though they are unable to type yet, 7% of babies and toddlers have an email address by the time they are 2.
Our research shows that the trend is increasing for a child’s digital birth to coincide with and in many cases pre-date their real birth date. A quarter of babies have sonogram photos posted online before they have even physically entered into the world. It’s shocking to think that a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back 10-15 years at most, while the vast majority of children today will have online presence by the time they are two-years-old – a presence that will continue to build throughout their whole lives. – AVG CEO JR Smith
Setting up an online profile that early will definitely set an example to children that it is OK to spend a significant part of your lives and share personal details on the Internet. All parents need to remember that what they put online is public and permanent. This content, good or bad, will follow children for their entire lives.
John Sileo speaks professionally about social media exposure, identity theft and cyber crime for the Department of Defense, Fortune 1000 companies and any organization that wants to protect the profitability of their private information. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076 or visit his speaker’s website at www.ThinkLikeASpy.com.