Baby Steps: 81% of Infants Have Digital Footprint

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Before children even learn to walk, they may already have left a large footprint on the Web.

A recent survey from AVG, an online security company, found that 81% of kids under the age of 2 have some kind of “digital footprint” online, usually in the form of e-mail accounts, social networking pages and photos posted on the Web.

AVG surveyed 2,000 mothers in 10 countries (including the U.S.) with children under the age of 2, and found that many have been aggressive in building an online presence for their children.

According to the survey, one third of children have had pictures of them posted online by parents or other relatives. In fact, a quarter of children represented in the survey have even had pre-birth images of themselves on the Internet as well.

If that’s not strange enough, the study also found that 7% of children either have their own e-mail address or a dedicated profile on a social networking account.

In some ways, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering that just in the past year, Fisher-Price has introduced a version of Twitter for kids, called Twoddler, and other new social networks have popped up specifically for young children.

Yet as much as parents love to boast about their children and show off their pictures to the world, such behavior opens up children to privacy concerns.

“While it's natural to share this proud moment with people who are close to you, this does emphasise [sic] the need to review your social network privacy settings,” AVG noted in the study. “Regrettably it only takes a few minutes to find unprotected baby albums and even pictures of antenatal scans on Facebook that are open to the wider online world.”

Also, you might want to think ahead to how your kids will likely feel one day when they discover there are photos online from before they were born. Hint: awkward.

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