8 dangers of posting photos of your child online

Child safety online

To share or not to share! That is a choice that every 21st-century parent exposed to technology has to make in regards to images of themselves and their loved ones.

When I was starting this blog last year, I had to seriously think through this topic on privacy online and discuss it with my husband. One of the not-so-easy decisions we had to make was to make every effort, not to over-share images of our kids on social media or online.  This decision sometimes haunts me when I’m writing very personal posts and as is the norm with most mummy bloggers, most share images of their kids. Sometimes I feel like am being a fraud, here dishing advice and sharing personal experiences on parenting yet failing to show ‘proof’ of being a mother.

Online privacy is a subject that a lot of us parents and individuals haven’t given some serious thought to mostly due to the excitement that being able to exist and create our personalities online gives us.

According to commonsensemedia.org, sharing pictures of our kids with friends and family is one of the most popular uses of social media and has become an everyday way to stay in touch with them. However, most of us are not aware of some of the risks we put ourselves or our kids in by posting these photos. Most of us do not know how to be safe online thus even when sharing images of ourselves or kids, we do not take the necessary precautions to safeguard ourselves against some of the potential risks.

So in this post, we look at eight dangers that we are potentially exposing ourselves and our kids to by sharing their photos online.

1. Digital Footprints
Posting photos of your kids create a digital footprint — a kind of electronic paper trail — that forms their identities in a world they haven’t chosen to enter. Social networking sites like Facebook will start carving out a profile of your child years before they join the network. By the time they do, Facebook will already know so much about them which might not be good as we will see below.

2.You may be stepping on your child’s anonymity and consent
While it may not be something we think about all the time, we’re essentially taking control of our child’s digital identity from the get-go. For instance, what if those once-goofy baby photos come back to haunt your  child later in their teen years?

3.Losing Control of your images 
Once you post a photo online, you lose control over it. Someone could easily copy the photo, tag it, save it, or otherwise use it — and you might never know.  Have you ever read the Facebook terms and conditions or those of other social media sites? Well, hidden somewhere in the long winding document is a clause that states that, you give up consent, copyrights and  ownership of any media you share on the platform. What this means is that, sites like FB can use the images you have put on their platform in anyway they deem fit and are not obligated to seek your consent first.

4.Data Collectors
Everything you post has information that is valuable to advertisers and data collectors; posting a photo of a kid identifies you as someone who might be interested in baby products. We make it quite easy for number crunchers to add data willingly…

5.Targeted Advertising
Data collection online more often than not leads to targeted advertising by social networks or sale of this data to third parties. This is the business model for most, it not all, social networks. They’re not exactly predators in the conventional sense, but marketers use your activity and social status on Facebook to target you with certain ads.

6.Digital Kidnapping
There is a growing crime called ‘digital kidnapping’ in which individuals or companies steal children’s images and use their images in advertisements or more sinister things. According to Bustle.com “Digital kidnapping” is when strangers steal baby photos and repost them across the Internet. Sometimes, these virtual photo thieves will pass the snapshots off as their own. But other times, it goes one step further. On Instagram, for example, accounts are being set up specifically to encourage others to join in on “adoption role playing,” inventing new identities for each child and inviting users to chime in.

7.You may be sharing your child’s location without knowing
GPS-enabled phones and location tracking integrated into photos by your camera or smartphone may offer up sensitive information like your child’s school address, your family’s home address, and other places you frequent like church, recreational places or shopping centers malls.

8.You can’t take it back!
Once you’ve posted that picture, that’s it, there’s no way to take it back.  It’s always out there, on a server, and even if you tighten up your privacy settings, a picture or video, once shared online, can, with a few indiscreet clicks by family or friends, become public property.Even if you share the image then delete it, there is not telling that someone had not saved it to their computer already!

When sharing photos online, here’s some recommended safety tips from knowthenet:

Check your privacy settings — not just once but regularly, to ensure that they haven’t changed.

Think before you upload — consider whether your picture is appropriate or whether it could cause embarrassment to your kid later on. And if you’re posting pics of other kids, seek permission first!

Don’t overshare — there’s no need to upload every single picture you take, and in effect use social media as a family picture album.

Track the changes of all social media sites you use — rules and regulations change all the time, so it’s important to keep abreast of your rights

Image Source www.wnyc.org

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7 comments

  1. Samalie kayaga Reply

    Indeed it’s useless and we have been doing it ignorantly. Thx, mothers take note of that.

  2. John Cee Reply

    Av loved reading this article…often wat av cared about..av never posted pics of my children on social media…Kudos Njeri, nice job.

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