Protecting Your Child’s Online Privacy: Making Informed Choices On The Internet

February 27, 2024

The Risks of Sharing Children’s Information Online

It’s no secret that there are a lot of weirdos on the Internet. And I want to preface this episode in that this is not one where I am trying to shame parents in any way.

I believe that most of us are just trying to do our best with the information we have available to us. And right now, our generation, therefore, our children too, subsequently, right, are involved with one big social experiment.

And that’s why I’m here to share information so that both you and your children can have informed consent. The truth is, I have many friends who earn income online right now, quote, unquote, using their children’s likeness, whether it’s online as models, or in their social media content.

And it is a fact that you can make a ton of money online by doing so. There are a gazillion opportunities out there.

And this is way beyond the traditional child model, which by the way, I was actually as a child as well. Fun fact. And do I personally agree with this method of generating income, given what I now know? No, I don’t. But I also understand that many families don’t know any better.

The dangers of normalizing sharing personal information about children online

They never think that a predator will come after them. And quite frankly, they’re just trying to earn additional income online, so they kind of practice cognitive dissonance about the whole issue. I mean, ask yourself. Right?

Like, have you seen the way that people talk in the comment section about any given issue? Right? The keyboard warriors, as I call them.

This past week, I was running an ad on Facebook for this podcast, actually, And someone had the nerve to comment that I looked like I was anorexic, and shared the likeness of someone on the show, Team Mom.

First of all, I can’t believe that people honestly still watch the show. It’s a dumpster fire, right? Always has been. But let’s focus on the comment on my physique.

As someone who has struggled with body image issues, and has worked through them immensely the past decade, a comment like that can be super triggering. Right? Harassment, probably. Rude and uncalled for, most definitely. And thankfully, I’m, I’m a very strong individual.

I am built a certain way. And to be real, I know that I’ve been created in the likeness of God. So these comments just don’t bother me. And after all the messages that I used to receive back in 2020 in the DMs, including death threats, by the way, when I was exposing the fraud that was just unveiling itself at every corner, whether it was the election, the virus, the vaccine, all of it.

I know in my heart of all hearts that that’s just the enemy at work trying to get me to back down from my God given purpose, And that includes sharing on this podcast.

You think it’s any mistake that the ad that this person commented on was for this podcast where I share about Jesus, expose what’s truly going on in the world, and share about how we can naturally heal ourselves, right?

Like all of these different modalities that I teach and share about, of course not like the enemy knows what he’s doing. And he’s always going to try to deter us from our purpose.

But I have to always laugh when these types of things happen. Because with any of these keyboard warriors truly have the nerve to say those kinds of things to my face in the line at the grocery store? Very doubtful. Right? I think we can all agree. That would be very doubtful.

The Importance of Informed Consent and Privacy for Children

Now, let’s think about the predators. They’re not going after us like this person was with that particular comment, right? They’re not going after the adults most of the time, although that does happen. Okay. Stalking and all that.

I’m not by any means trying to deflate that. That does happen, but they’re going primarily after our kids. Your child who you would literally lay down and die for. So if they have the nerve to make these comments publicly, mind you, in the comment section of Instagram, all the time on TikTok.

That’s just a lawless yard. And Facebook, what do you think goes on in these private chats with these freaks?

And do you honestly think the government or these online entities are doing anything to protect our kids? We’ve seen time after time that they’re not. In fact, they love to profit off of our children.

There’s a reason why human trafficking is the number three moneymaker after drugs and guns. And have you ever noticed that this happens to me quite frequently on the most random things too, random stories, but these people will sometimes pop in, who don’t follow me.

They’ll just pop into my IG stories. And I have my Instagram filtered now, where if they make certain comments in the DMs, like it just goes into a folder. But I’ll get like, Hey, do you need a sugar daddy or I mean, like, these people are messed up.

That’s like the nicest way to say it, right? And no matter how many times you block them and report them, it’s incessant. It’s just it never it never stops and never goes away. Now that’s Instagram.

But did you know these freaks are also on Pinterest? And they’re actually Pinterest boards run by pedophiles. Yes. You heard me correctly. Babies in diapers, the hands and feet of children, literally nothing is off the table with these animals. The FBI estimates 500,000 to half a million online predators are a daily threat to kids going online.

The potential consequences of sharing children’s information online

More than 50% of victims ages 12 to 14, right, of that half million, half of them are tweens. I’m looking at you, cheer and dance moms. You know, I know parents think that they’re doing the right thing.

Again, their child is involved with the sport, the camaraderie, the athleticism, and I’m not I’m not hating on the sport by any means. But I need you to think about the outfits and the positions and the makeup, how they look like little mini adults.

Showing their bellies, the crop to all of it. Right? And the positions they’re putting themselves in when they are doing the activity. Think about that before you post online. And I know you don’t wanna think about your child being a victim. It’s gross.

It’s icky. Right? You see the good of all that you’re doing as a parent and for your child involving them with this sport. Like I said, I think there are a lot of positives to it. But the reality is you’re teeing your child up for this type of attention.

89% of contact with predators to children are through chat rooms and instant messaging. Now you already know how I feel about having, like, kids having access to social media. Right? But think about this, how do they even find the kids in the first place? Most of the time, all roads lead to you.

Keep your Children’s Lives Private Online and Set Familial Boundaries

The parent who is posting them publicly, obviously giving them access to social media accounts and a phone and iPad.

And, also, the ones who are normalizing this behavior of talking and sharing your utmost private information with the public. Strangers on the internet that you literally do not know. You’re sharing with them where you’re traveling, where you live, where your kids go to school, where you shop, what sports your children play, what kind of car you drive.

You are making this normal to your children. What happened to stranger danger? Anyone remember that? And I know you’re thinking, these stories, Maren, they’re one of the random things you hear on the internet, and it’s it’s fear mongering and like, no, homie, they’re not. Okay? They’re happening every day.

I have a friend who is a golf TV personality. She actually just got out of the industry and went into real estate.

But she shared her son’s image on Instagram. And then someone started stealing her photos and created a separate Instagram page pretending to be her, like literally writing captions of, you know, photos of her or just photos of her son, which was even more weird, as if it was their child, like, oh, great day at the park. Right?

Okay. Like, Hello. That’s scary. And it took weeks, weeks to try and get Instagram to take the account down. And they eventually did, but the damage was done. Okay? She was an emotional wreck.

I mean, can you even imagine someone taking your child’s photos and pretending that it’s their kid? That stuff you see on, you know, law and order special victims unit stuff, like right? But it’s the reality, and I’m telling you this is real, folks.

And down the line, I need you to ask yourself, are you prepared for the conversation with your children when they’re old enough to understand what’s been going on since even before they were born?

Even before they were born, the information you are sharing about them. Are you ready for your kids to say, mommy, daddy, why do predators know the details of my life? How are people finding me? How do they know my name? Why do they know what school I go to?

And chances are if you’re a millennial, you’re listening to this episode right now, and you remember the Olsen twins. They’re going to be 38. Yeah, because they’re the same age.

So they’re going to be turning 38 in June. I think their birthday is actually a week after mine. And these two were the most famous children on television.

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But think about it. Even those TV stars didn’t have cameras in their faces, morning, noon, and night, like many children of influencers do. And look at those two, right, And other young adult stars and, and how they turned out is scary.

And you may think, oh, that’s just Hollywood, Maren. And to a certain extent, yes, their issues can be amplified because of the environment they were in. But the reality is, they have more they have security that you don’t, right? They have resources financially that you don’t. Okay? So to me, it’s all a wash.

Navigating Parenthood in the Age of Social Media

There are plenty of ways you can prove that you’re a parent without sharing information about your child.

We need to keep our kids kids, and not everything needs to be shared. And many would argue that including your family on social media is innocent. And you might have this battle with certain people, friends, family, about why you’re choosing to either show or not sure in my case, not show, right?

I had to explain to family members why I don’t share my daughter. I’ve had phone calls where I’ve had to call family and say, take that down, delete that. Do not share that. And I’ve straight up created boundaries with them where I’m like, if you can’t handle yourself, then you’re not gonna get access to photos and information. So I get it.

But I also see that many have private accounts and they feel like they trust people or they feel like they’re not sharing that much.

And yes, there are people like myself who do share about their children. No, I don’t share her name or her face or anything like that. And I would certainly never share photos of her potty training or in the bath like I see many parents do.

And once again, I will say, I’m not here to judge my peers. Although I do low key judge you if you’re sharing the potty training and bath videos and photos because honestly, how would you like it if someone came into the bathroom during your most private moments and started videotaping you.

It’s freaking gross and weird. So please stop doing this to your kids. Like it’s weird.

Just stop, period. But let’s be real, showing your kid is a bit of the easy button, if you will, on receiving more engagement. More engagement equates to more clicks, more likes, and comments, therefore, getting more companies interested in sponsoring you, AKA paying you.

Success In The Online Space Without Kids’ Exposure

Contrary to popular belief, success in the online world doesn’t rely on exposing our children. Many influencers and social sellers, including myself, have proved that it’s possible to thrive without compromising our kids’ privacy. ~Maren

But I’m here to offer a different perspective and offer an education on how you can do it differently. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do those things in order to earn money online. I’ve been social selling for over a decade online. And I’ve been a parent for two of those 10 years. I’m living proof that you don’t need to do it.

I was very careful about what I shared before I became a parent and I am to this day. There are plenty of ways you can prove that you’re a parent without sharing information about your child.

In fact, it’s gonna force you to be creative in ways you never would have even thought to because you have to and therefore it’s gonna separate you from the white noise that is all the parenthood advice circulating on the internet, all the mom influencers, yada, yada.

You know, there are times you just hear my daughter’s voice in the background. Although with AI taking over, I might have to pivot from that too in the future. See, these people can do so many awful things with the information they have access to.

You know, I talked about the products that are working for us or not working for us. And I’m not the only one who does this.

Keeping Our Children Safe Online Is More Important Than Ever

Many of your favorite faceless accounts who you purchase products from do not share information about their children. And I’m grateful to see that this trend is spreading. But it isn’t happening fast enough, in my opinion.

And I think that’s because people are scared. They’re afraid to take accountability first and foremost and ownership for what they’ve already done. Right? They’ve already opened Pandora’s box, so to speak, by sharing their information about their kids.

And I need you to know that you can always delete content, and you can make changes. I also think that many people are afraid of being different.

They see others who are quote unquote successful, and they wanna duplicate that said success. Well, they show their kids, so I need to too. Find people like myself and other influencers out there who don’t, and use us as social proof that it’s possible to be successful without having to share your children.

We’re out there, I promise you. And sharing your kids isn’t what is going to make you successful. Seriously, my friend, like it’s not, okay? Ultimately, people want to work with you because of who you are, your knowledge and experience, not your kids.

Not your toddler, certainly not. What experience do they have, right? So in closing, you control your child’s image and name.

The digital world is a minefield for predators. Let’s work together to protect our children.

You will not be able to control this information, especially if you have a public profile, which is truth be told what you will need in order to earn money online from promoting products being sponsored, yada yada yada, okay?

And we are in uncharted territory right now. And I think we need to proceed with caution. It’s better to be on the side of less is more than to give out all of the details of not only our lives, but our children’s. We are raising the alpha generation right now.

If you have a child born in 2010 or later, that is the alpha generation, the beginning, which means the beginning of change.

The Alpha Generation: Parenting and Influences in the Social Media Age

The Alpha Generation: Parenting and Influences in the Social Media Age

So have you heard about this new trend that is going viral amongst tweens and teens? They are completely blowing out all of the Sephora drawers and then going on social media to do these ...

Let’s make a difference with how we are sharing our children online. Because in the future, we will have to answer to our kids about the lack of informed consent when giving out their information to strangers, like random strangers on the Internet.

And I don’t know about you, but I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to my child, because I just had to share about something on the Internet or sharing said information, like it had a dollar amount of monetary value attached to it.

And then that information or that picture or whatever got into the wrong hands. No paid sponsorship, no amount of likes and followers will ever ever be more valuable to me, and I’m assuming you, than the safety and protection of your child?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Reach out to me on Instagram – @macrowley

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

Maren Crowley

Your Host


In each episode we’re seeking truth and getting real – helping you discover your strength and voice to make the best, informed choices on YOUR terms in accordance to HIS will.

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