A child's online footprint can begin before they are even born — starting when parents upload sonograms to social media. When kids are old enough to realize this, parents may encounter a broad range of reactions.
"It was everywhere from completely freaking out about everything their parents posted, being really angry, getting mad, to others that kind of said that it made them feel a little bit famous. They Googled themselves, they saw a bunch of pictures. And it made them feel important," journalist Taylor Lorenz said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning." She's out with an article in the Atlantic called "When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online."
When it comes to "sharenting" — parents actively sharing their child's digital identity — Lorenz advised, "Just be mindful. And realize that, you know, like everything on the internet, it lasts forever."
By the age of 2, about 92 percent of toddlers have their own digital identity, according to a 2010 study by internet security firm AVG.
That silly dance your child is doing may seem adorable to you, "but it can really be mortifying" to them, Lorenz said. So should parents be asking kids for permission to post about them online?
"I think it depends on how old your kid is. I mean, I think a lot of kids, even at the age of 10, don't really comprehend the long-term effects," Lorenz said. "So it's really up to parents to use their best judgment in terms of what post and maybe what to keep private."
Lorenz said she observed that many children around middle school will start to define themselves online. "It's often when a lot of kids ask for their own social media accounts. Sometimes seeing sort of what their parents have constructed for them and wanting to push back on that and say, 'Hey, I want to post my own pictures,'" she said.