October 8, 2010

Study Finds 80% Of Toddlers Have Pics Online

Approximately 8 out of every 10 children will have pictures posted online or some other type of digital record before they can even walk, a new study by Internet security firm AVG has discovered.

As part of the study, representatives from AVG, a Melbourne, Australia-based company founded in 1991, interviewed 2,200 mothers in 10 countries--the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan--during the week of September 27.

They discovered that, on average, 81% of toddlers in those nations have a digital presence. Those rates were highest in America (92%) and New Zealand (91%), and lowest in the five European countries (73%), according to Antone Gonsalves of InformationWeek.

"The survey found that the children's online footprint started on average at around six months of age, with a third having photos and other information posted online within weeks of being born," Gonsalves also said, noting that approximately one-fourth of the mothers surveyed had uploaded prenatal sonograms to the Web.

"In addition, 7% of babies and toddlers had email addresses set up by their parents, and 5% had a social network profile," the InformationWeek reporter added.

"It's a sobering thought," AVG managing director Peter Cameron told AFP on Friday. "The vast majority of children today have online presence by the time they are two years old--a presence that will be built on throughout their whole lives."

"It reinforces the need for parents to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social network profiles," Cameron added. "Otherwise, you may be sharing your baby's picture not only with your friends and family but with the whole online world."

When quizzed about their motivations for posting their kids' pictures online, 7 out of 10 survey participants said that they wanted to share them with their family and friends. In the U.S., however, over one-fifth of the mothers said that they wanted to add content to their social network profiles, and nearly one-fourth were simply doing so because their peers had as well.


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