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Parents post 13,000 images of their kids online by the time they’re 13

Parents post 13,000 images of their kids online by the time they’re 13
[Photo: Andrik Langfield/Unsplash]

A new report from the U.K. may cause you to reconsider posting that adorable photo of your kid doing their best Lil Tay impression on Facebook.

The report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner of England says parents post way, way more online about their children than they may realize or really want. On average, by the time a kid is 13, their parents have posted 1,300 photos and videos of them on social media, the report says. It’s a shocking number, kind of like when you think you’re a relatively light eater—then you start keeping a food diary and realize you ate 14 Kit Kats and four bags of Fritos on Tuesday.

Of course, it’s not just parents who post to social media. When kids become old enough to have their own accounts, they tend to post a lot themselves. Per the report, children aged 11-16 post on social media on average 26 times a day, which means they may have posted 70,000 times on social media by the time they hit 18, and with numbers like that, it’s statistically impossible they haven’t posted something they will regret by the time they apply to college or run for political office.

To help protect the digital lives of children, the report urges the British government to consider strengthening data laws. It also calls for schools to start teaching about data collection, and for tech companies to take more responsibility about the kind of data they collect, which is a lot of data. The report shows how children’s data is routinely collected not only from parents’ social media posts, but also through children’s smartphones and tablets, smart speakers, browsers, and search engine histories—and, perhaps most alarmingly, through connected toys and connected baby cameras.

“Companies that make apps, toys, and other products used by children need to stop filling them with trackers and put their terms and conditions in language that children understand,” said Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, in a statement.

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