Posting your family photos online, what are the risks?

Posting your family photos online, what are the risks?

Let’s imagine the situation. A 14-year old boy returned from school fuming and upset. The first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘mum please delete that picture from your profile page’. The picture apparently was taken when he was 4 years old doing one of those toddler acts. His mom was surprised because she thought that was a cute picture. However, what she failed to understand was that what looked cute to her might not be to her son. He was being teased and bullied by his friends at school because of that picture. This is just one of the cases that happen when parents post photos of their family online.

Modern parenthood has a new term ‘sharenting’. Sharing is the overuse of social media by parents to share content that includes their children. It is fun to share those pictures, but as a parent have you ever thought about the risks involved in the near future? What that innocent photo you shared and was so proud of could do to your kid in 10 or 15 years’ time?

It could be that most parents are not even aware of the dangers and ridicule they expose their children to when posting these pictures. There are a lot of risks involved. Let’s discuss some of them.

Footprint

Parents who are involved in sharing should know that whatever photo they post to leave a digital footprint – ‘electronic paper trail’. These photos are kept online and are never deleted. Based on these pictures, profiles are generated for your children before they are even ready to open a social media account example being Facebook. Why would you expose your child to the dangers of social media before they become active?

Digital kidnapping

Apart from the digital footprint, these photos make your kids vulnerable to identity theft.  A new trend called ‘digital kidnapping’. Digital kidnapping is when kids’ photos are stolen online. The digital kidnappers assume the parents of these kids, give them new names and create different profiles for them. Interesting enough these digital kidnappers have tons of followers on their social media platforms. How will you feel if one day you are surfing the Internet and see your child’s photo on someone’s profile claiming to be your child’s parent? That was what happened to Lindsay Paris a blogger. She was fortunate her case was settled easily. Yours might not be.

Lose control of the photos

In addition to the above, parents should know that once they hit the share button, they lose control over those pictures. Anybody can download these pictures and reuse them. In most cases, advertisers use these pictures for their products without any permission from parents. You might say these social media websites have privacy policies that protect your photos but have you ever sat down to read those long documents? Somewhere in those documents are clauses that state you give up consents, copyrights and ownership of any media shared on their platforms.

Online predators

Moreover, you may be exposing your kid to online grooming and predators. These criminals collect all these photos, profile them and keep them. What they do is once your kid is of age to use social media, they befriend them, gain their trust based on the photos and comments you shared online and later take advantage of them. Most of these images end up on child pornography websites where they are altered and redistributed.

Online bullying

Finally, your child could be open to online bullying among his/her friends of deed committed when they were younger. Most kids cannot stand teasing and being ridiculed.

What can you do?

Does this mean you should delete all the photos already posted on your social media account or you should never post any pictures of your children online? No! All you need to do is be careful of all the pictures you do post online.

Below are some ideas you can use to reduce the risks involved:

  1. On your social media platforms use your privacy settings. Limit the number of people who can view your posts. With this, you do have some control of who views your photos.
  1. Turn off geotagging when taking photos or posting them. This does not reveal your locations or addresses and will be very difficult for someone to stalk you or your kids.
  1. Think twice about any photo you post. Pictures of kids naked or in swimsuits should not be shared online because they might end up on inappropriate websites.
  1. To add to that, watermark any photo you share on your social media page. This will help you prove that those photos are yours if they ever get stolen.

mSpy your #1 parental control app cares about the future of your children. We would like parents to ask themselves this question anytime they want to hit the share button to share any picture of their kids. ‘Will my child be proud of it in 5, 10 or 15 years to come’?

mSpy – Know. Prevent. Protect.

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