New Zealand families are at the forefront of the international trend to upload prenatal ultrasound images, tweet pregnancy experiences, make online photo albums of children from birth, and even create email addresses for babies, international internet security company AVG says.

Parents in New Zealand are increasingly building digital footprints for their children before birth and from the moment they are born, according to a survey the company carried out in New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The survey found that overall, 81 per cent of children under the age of two had some kind of digital profile or footprint, with images of them posted online.

In the US, 92 per cent of children have an online presence by the time they are two, with NZ toddlers hard on their heels at 91 per cent. Canada and Australia, at 84 per cent, lead the other nations, which averaged 73 per cent in Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Japan lagged on 43 per cent.

According to the research, the average digital birth of children happened at about six months, with 41 per cent of New Zealand and Australian children having photos and information posted online within weeks of being born. The next highest proportion of newborns with an online life from birth were in Britain and Canada (37 per cent each).

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal scans to the internet, but the practice was more common in New Zealand (30 per cent), the US (34 per cent) and Canada (37 per cent). On average, this happened with only 14 per cent of parents in France, Italy, Germany and Japan.

Overall, 7 per cent of babies and toddlers have an email address created for them by their parents, and 5 per cent have a social network profile, but in New Zealand the figures were 4 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

When asked what motivates parents to post images of their babies on the internet, more than 70 per cent of all mothers surveyed said it was to share with friends and family, but 22 per cent of mothers in the US said they wanted to add more content to their own social network profiles.

The AVG survey also found mothers were moderately concerned about the amount of online information that would be available on their children in future years, with Spanish mothers the most concerned and Canadian mothers the least worried.

AVG, in a statement, urged parents to be aware of the privacy settings they had set on their social networks and other profiles.

The research was conducted by Research Now among 2200 mothers with toddlers during September.