I was scrolling through my Facebook feed recently (as per usual), when something new caught my attention...
A friend from school had tagged her four year-old daughter in a picture. Poised and ready to report the profile to Facebook, I clicked on her hyperlinked name. But the page wasn't a Facebook profile, but a “scrapbook”.
Cunningly Facebook has tried to tackle the issue of under 13s not being allowed profiles, while still allowing them a space on the platform.
According to Facebook:
A scrapbook is a collection of photos of your child. When you tag your child in photos, those photos will be automatically added to your child's scrapbook
There are a few things parents should consider when deciding if they want to create a scrapbook for their scamp:
There are no privacy settings
The scrapbook is just an extension of your Facebook profile, so the privacy settings are the same as your own. If you have a public profile, your child’s scrapbook is also public.
In other words, unless you change it, anyone that can see your photos, can see your kids’.
Privacy needs to be applied to each individual image
You can’t make the whole scrapbook private, but you can change the settings on the image you want to add. You could potentially mark every photo as “only me”, making it something only you can access and see. “The profile and cover photo of your child's scrapbook are visible to anyone who can see at least one photo in the scrapbook.”
Does your child want this?
There are some very personal (and embarrassing) photos of me as a child, but thankfully Facebook wasn’t around then. But I do know there are some I never want to be shared on social media. Your children may well look back at this scrapbook in 10 years time and be mortified that you shared so much of their life.
It may seem like a bit of a no-brainer but parents should be checking with kids if they consent to having their pictures shared in this way. And no, your three month old cannot consent.
Remember, when you tag your child in someone else’s photo, they control the original audience (e.g. friends or public). The audience of a photo can also change when more tags are added to the photo.
Whenever you share something online, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you’d be happy for people you may not neccessarily know to see it. Because you never know whose hands it may fall into. When it comes to children we need to be even more aware
With Facebook now collating these images into one space it's even more important to think about what you share. What may seem like an innocent picture can give away a lot of personal information we wouldn’t usually share, such as where they go to school, their swimming club, football team etc.
On the plus side – it can be used as a nice way to introduce your child to social media without exposing them to the full risks and responsibility of having their own account.