Think Twice: Sharing Back-to-School Pics on Social Media
While some kids have started school and others are still waiting for their first day, many parents like to take traditional first-day photos. The posts often feature images of kids holding a sign that displays the child’s name, teacher, age, school, and favorite things. However, officials caution against sharing these online. No matter your privacy settings, officials advise against sharing details like your child’s full name, age, and school, as it could put both you and your child at risk.
This year, The National Council on Identity Theft Protection reported that almost half of Americans experienced identity theft. The Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center reports that around 500,000 online predators are active every day. While you might not be thinking about this as you rush to get your kids ready for their first day, the information you share online can make your children vulnerable to thieves.
Back-to-school photos and safety
All a thief requires to initiate identity theft is a child’s complete name, birthdate, and address. The first two can be easily found on social media profiles that feature birthday announcements and other significant events.
While most of us might avoid posting our addresses online, we often inadvertently provide clues. This can happen by showing our mailbox or house number in a photo, mentioning our child’s school name, or unknowingly leaving on geotags and location services that disclose our whereabouts. Even a photo of your child in their school uniform could reveal your location.
Back-to-school photos bring happiness to many parents. This happiness might outweigh the perceived small risk. While nothing online is completely safe, following a few safety tips can help.
Think about who you’re sharing with. Posting pictures in a small family group is different from sharing with a large number of people on social media. Regularly check the privacy settings of your social media accounts. Pay attention to who can see your posts.
Keep details minimal. Use your child’s first name only, and avoid mentioning teachers or school names. Check the background for any personal information.
Ask for consent. If your child is four or older, ask them before posting. If they’re unsure, don’t share the photo.