Experts in digital safety
- Oversharing, the excess sharing of personal data and information on the internet, is increasingly common among minors.
- On average, 11-year-olds upload 26 posts a day on social media.
- 45% of minors between the ages of 9 and 16 have a personal profile on at least one social network, growing to 83% by age 15 or 16.
- On average, minors have 100 or more followers per network, but less than half of these followers are friends in real life.
- Only 46% of minors know how to change their privacy settings.
- Identity theft, child pornography and kidnapping are some of the risks minors are exposed to when sharing personal information on the internet.
The enormous impact that the internet has on today’s society is an undeniable fact. According to data from the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD), approximately 85% of Spanish homes have a network connection and 7 out of 10 children under 15 have a mobile phone. These new technologies and social networks have helped advance communications, but their misuse can have negative consequences, especially among children.
Sharing information and personal data, or “oversharing”, on social networks has become a very common practice for most of the population and even more so among minors. On Instagram alone, a total of 95 million daily posts are made worldwide. On average, 11-year-olds post on social media 26 times a day, and they have 100 or more followers on each network, but less than half of their followers are friends in ‘real life’ , according to a survey by Internet Matters.
Concerned about protecting children and their data online, and in recognition of International Data Privacy Day (January 28), Qustodio, the leader in digital safety and wellbeing, analysed minors’ oversharing on the internet and its associated risks.
45% of minors between 9 and 16 years old have a personal profile on at least one social network, and that percentage shoots up to 83% in the 15 to 16 age group, according to the Net Children Go Mobile study. In addition, the National Cybersecurity Institute (Incibe) warns that only 46% know how to change privacy settings and only 40% know how to block pop-up windows. Indicating the location, sharing future plans or spreading your mobile phone number are some of the most common oversharing practices among young people on the internet.
Among the most common risks minors most exposed themselves to by oversharing, the following crimes stand out:
- Identity theft (Article 401 of the Spanish Penal Code) is the falsification of a person by pretending to be someone else and carries a penalty of 6 months to 3 years in prison.
- Child pornography (Article 189 Spanish Penal Code) is the capturing, using or distributing material of minors and carries a penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison.
- Kidnapping (Article 164 Spanish Penal Code) is the locking up or detaining a person against their will and carries a penalty of up to 8 years depending on the conditions (ransom, duration, etc.)
Minors also need to be aware that once content is published on a social network, those posts are there for eternity. Although the privacy regulations try to establish a “right to be forgotten”, it is difficult to apply and enforce on platforms that do not want to eliminate your data. In the long term, oversharing can even affect a child’s future work prospects. InfoJobs states that 50% of Spanish companies consult the social networks of candidates for a vacancy before making the decision to hire.
According to María Guerrero, an expert psychologist in families and technology at Qustodio, “It is essential that there is open communication between parents and children. and that parents are the ones who educate and promote responsible use of the internet. This is the key to guaranteeing the safety and wellbeing of minors in the digital environment too.”
Qustodio reminds children and parents that protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right and is guaranteed by Article 8, paragraph 1, of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by Article 16, section 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEFU), and implemented at the regulatory level by General Data Protection Regulation GDPR and the Organic Law on Personal Data and Digital Rights (LOPDGDD). Any processing of personal data of a minor needs the minor’s consent (if over 14) or else the consent of the parents or guardians.
In Spain, in cases in which photographs, videos or audios of sexual or violent content are disseminated through the Internet without the consent of the affected people, those affected can request their withdrawal via the Priority Channel launched by the Spanish Protection Agency Data (AEPD).
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