Before you post pics online of your little bundle of joy...

Post any cute pictures of your friend or sister's baby online anytime recently? Well, you might want to consider the digital footprint you're leaving behind.

A new study concludes that 92 percent of American children under the age of two have an online presence that they didn't ask for. You know how it goes -- mom or dad posts on Facebook or e-mails a birth announcement with the baby's first, middle and last name, often the mother's maiden name, and the birth date of course. Friends forward that stuff to friends of friends and all of sudden, your baby has a digital footprint. Oh, and identity thieves light a cigar in celebration.

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Anti-virus software company AVG conducted the study and polled more than 2,000 mothers in 10 Western countries. The U.S. topped the list with American kids appearing in more pictures online than any other country. New Zealand came in second at 91 percent, with Canada and Australia at 84 percent. Other countries in the study were the U.K. France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

Overall, 82 percent of children in the polled countries have a digital footprint before they even hit 2-years-old.

Other findings from the AVG study, according to J.R. Smith at AVG blogs:

1 - The average age at which a child acquires an online presence courtesy of their parents is at six months, and by the time they are two 81% of children have some kind of 'digital footprint'.
2 - A third (33%) of children have had images posted online from birth
3 - A quarter (23%) of children have even had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parents
4 - Seven per cent (7%) of babies have even had an email address created for them by their parents
5 - More than 70% of mothers said they posted baby and toddler images online to share with friends and family

To read the whole report in PDF format, click here.

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About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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