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💡 Can you protect your child's identity from AI?

Hello, Geniuses. Happy Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) . Below, we’ll get you smarter about parenting in just 5 minutes.


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“The point of parenting is not to have all the answers before we start out but instead to figure it out on the go as our children grow. Because as they do, so will we.” - Bridgett Miller


Can you protect your child's identity from AI?

Parents face a daunting challenge. 

Photos and videos are increasingly permanent on the internet. It’s now possible to associate almost any image with the specific people in the photo based on facial recognition. And, even a small amount of digital content is enough to create a facsimile of someone that looks and sounds real. 

A 2020 Pew survey revealed that over 80 percent of parents share their children's photos and information online. But as parents, how can you ensure your child's safety now and as technology improves?

While broadcasting memories online might seem harmless, advances in AI pose real threats. Deepfake technology can mimic children's likeness, and strangers can exploit innocent photos to learn personal information. There are even examples of scammers using deepfakes to try to extort ransom money out of parents by staging fake kidnappings

The power of facial recognition

Facial recognition technology has become incredibly sophisticated, linking obscure online photos to actual identities. At this point, we can be confident that every image of someone on the public internet will eventually be linked to them. It’s worth considering that Mark Zuckerberg covers his children’s faces in Instagram posts.

What you can do

What, when, and how much to share online is, of course, a personal decision. It’s clear at this point though that parents’ decisions to share about their children is likely a long-term, permanent decision on behalf of their children. As they grow up, some children may appreciate starting with a blank digital slate.

Here are some strategies you can use to minimize your children’s digital footprint:

  1. Share with direct messaging: use private messaging apps or SMS to share, when possible.

  2. Set social media to private: social media accounts, like Instagram, can often be set to “private,” so only followers you approve can see your content. 

  3. Obscure faces: using strategic staging or editing, you can remove your children’s faces from photos before sharing them.

  4. Decline consent: schools, camps, and other institutions should ask your permission before including photos of your children in posted media. You can simply say “no, thank you.”

  5. Audit your online presence: occasionally check your own digital presence and ensure your children aren’t accidentally in content.

  6. Set boundaries: establish clear guidelines with family and friends about sharing images of your child online.

  7. Use tools to find content and make removal requests. PimEyes and FaceCheck.ID are useful for searching the internet for photos of a particular person. They can also help streamline take-down requests.

  8. Educate your child: finally, involve your child in discussions about online safety once they're old enough. Discuss the consequences of sharing and set a strategy you’re both comfortable with.

What would you add to this list?

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