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Is Your Baby Online?

When I gave birth in 2003, people were so impressed that our twins already had the own email addresses as written on the birth announcement cards. Big deal, people nowadays would say. Well, that was almost 8 years ago. In our digital era, that’s almost like a generation ago. Babies of today begin having a digital footprint as soon as they appear on ultrasound images.

Nowadays, the majority of babies have an “online presence” before they reach the age of 2. This was according to a survey in 2010. The study, conducted by the internet security firm AVG, looked at 10 developed countries and found that 82% of babies and toddlers under 2 are actually present on the World Wide Web. Not surprising, the US was on top, with 92% of American babies having a “digital footprint” online. The top 4 countries were as follows:

  • US – 92%
  • New Zealand – 91%
  • Canada – 84%
  • Australia – 84%

A bit lower in the ranking are the European countries UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Japan was at the bottom of the pack, with less than 50% of under 2’s with photos on the Internet.

So Where Do The Baby Pictures Go?

  • Babies and parenting sites, such as Babies Online
  • Photo-sharing sites such as Shutterfly
  • Various social media sites like Facebook
  • Hospitals and clinic sites

How Do Babies Get an “Online Presence” So Early in Life?

Obviously they do not it by themselves. So who does?

33% of moms surveyed admitted to doing the uploading the photos themselves. Family members other than parents as well as friends also do the uploading, with or without parental consent. Mind you, many of the sites have security measures such as passwords and privacy settings. However, some people do get careless so that sometimes in addition to the photos, sometimes sensitive information is revealed, including the parent’s names and their address. And many others can’t seem to figure out how to remove the photos once they are on line.

Why Has Uploading Babies’ Photos Become So Popular?

  • One of the main reasons is the ease of taking pictures and videos with a digital camera. Cameras nowadays are so cheap and easy to use.
  • Another is the popularity of social networks. Eight years ago, I had a mailing list as to who should receive the birth announcement by email. Today it is as easy as posting it on Your Baby Page and your whole circle of friends & family can read the news.
  • And finally, it is what almost everybody does these days, it’s cool and it’s hip so let’s all keep up with the Joneses.

By the time our kids are old enough to use the Internet, they’d have countless of photos posted on the web. Let us hope they won’t hate us for these. But knowing how kids learn fast – even faster than their parents – they’d figure out early on how to remove those would-be embarrassing photos.

Anyway, tell us the truth: do your babies have an “online” presence?


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