Proud parents all over the world have at least one thing in common. They love to take pictures of their little ones and share them with friends and family. But in a world where images that go online stay online, what can parents do to make sure that the photos of those they love most don’t end up in the wrong hands?
While lots of parents think about the dangers of their older kids and teens getting on the internet themselves, most parents have never considered the idea that social media can be dangerous for kids long before they ever pick up their first smartphone. Here are five easy hacks to make sure that you’re posting pictures of your kids safely and securely.
1) Location, location, location. All the data and images we produce linger on the internet long after our posts have been liked and shared. This means, for example, that geotagging, by which many phones automatically log the location of your post, could tell criminals exactly where you live and work, or even reveal something like a new purchase that could attract burglars. Changing your settings to make sure the location that you’re posting from isn’t revealed could potentially protect you from unwanted guests.
2) Keep away from the bathroom! Meanwhile, many parents can’t help but post adorable pictures of their little ones taking a bath or running around the house in a diaper or in their underwear. Little do they know that without proper security settings, these images could end up on the computers of sexual predators. Even if they don’t go that far, they could be a major source of embarrassment and even bullying for children if they resurface later in life. It’s better to keep the pictures for yourself and your family rather than risk exposing your child’s bathroom time to a wider audience.
3) We all have our difficult moments, but that’s no reason to have to live with the evidence of them for the rest of our digital lives. While people might find it funny to see a child crying over an ice cream cone dropped on the ground or a fit of rage that involves knocking toys over, for the child, it can be humiliating. If images like these are shared widely, it could lead to teasing and bullying by other kids, and even depression for the child involved. Let’s let kids be kids and keep their worst moments private.
4) Get their consent. While it’s difficult for young children to understand what’s happening when a picture is shared, they can definitely let you know when they don’t like something they see. So before posting, why not show them the picture and make sure it’s okay for them.
5) Some things do last forever. Most of all, parents should think before they post. Is the picture something that you and your child are comfortable having on the internet, possibly forever? Remember that photos of your kids, however innocent they may seem, will probably be up on the internet in one form or another for the rest of their lives. If one day their potential employers were to see them, what impression would they give?
Thinking twice about the photos you share will help you and your kids have a better experience with social media and most importantly keep everyone safe!