Parents are posting an average of 1,500 images of their children on social media by the time their child starts primary school, a study has found.
The most popular site is Facebook where parents have hundreds of “friends”, all of whom can see the image, download it and repost it elsewhere.
The study was conducted by Nominet, which registers and manages internet domains in the UK. It found that parents have an average of 295 friends on Facebook, 69 followers on Twitter and 57 on Instagram.
A third of parents admit that half their social media friends are not friends at all, but friends of friends or colleagues or simply people they like the look of.
Nominet also quizzed asked parents about their knowledge of how privacy setting work and found that 85 per cent have not revised their privacy settings in the past year and many do not know how they work.
In a series of ten true/false questions, one in four parents got them all wrong and a majority got many of them wrong. Over three quarters did not understand tagging, for example.
When it comes to social media etiquette, a third of parents always expect other parents to ask permission before posting a photo of their child, yet the same proportion does not adopt the same approach themselves. Only one in seven always seeks permission before sharing an image online. On average, parents have uploaded a photo of someone else’s child nearly 30 times in the past year.
Russell Haworth, chief executive of Nominet, said that as children started primary school this week there would be hundreds of thousands images posted online to capture the moment.
“One of the greatest benefits of social media is that it gives us a platform to capture and share the snapshots of key moments and events that mean the most to us. However, as parents we need to remember to share with care. Having an understanding of privacy settings and updating them regularly is crucial to protecting these precious memories and ensuring we only share them with those we know and trust,” he said.
Vicki Shotbolt, chief executive of The Parent Zone, which advises parents on the digital world, said that uploading images could cause awkwardness for their children.
“Getting to grips with the privacy settings of our favourite social networking sites isn’t easy but parents could cause future embarrassment for their children or worse, if they don’t take care,” she said.
“With children growing up in an increasingly digital world, we need to ensure we are one step ahead of possible risks and dangers and have a good understanding of how to avoid them.”