September 2023 - Why You Should Pause Before Hitting Share
It’s natural for parents to share their children’s milestones with friends and family. Social media makes this easy. But even innocent posts can inadvertently have harmful effects.
All posts – photos, videos, status updates – have a lasting online presence. Content centered on children becomes part of their digital footprint that follows them throughout their lives. While you may think you are only sharing information with those close to you, if your account is public, anyone can access it. Unfortunately, online predators can use details in your posts to compromise the safety of your children.What Are Some Common Posting Mistakes Parents Make When It Comes to Their Children?
- Revealing personal information. – Birth dates, locations, school names and similar details can be used by online predators to track your child’s or your family’s activities.
- Posting photos of other people’s children without permission. – Surveys reveal that about 62% of parents don’t want their children’s photos or personal information online. To avoid violating their wishes ask permission, crop the photo, or skip the post.
- Posting embarrassing photos or comments. – Posts that seem cute today could affect your child’s self-image later or even be fodder for bullies.
- Not updating your account privacy settings. – As new settings features come out, make sure access to your account remains limited to people you trust.
Online safety concerns have caused almost four of every five parents of minor children to stop sharing details of their children’s lives through social media. Online predators can compromise children’s safety by downloading and sharing their photos, monitoring their comings and goings, and even stealing their identities to apply for credit services in their names. It is possible, though, to be a proud parent, share your children’s accomplishments and protect their safety all at once by following a few simple guidelines:
- Establish family rules, expectations and boundaries for online activities.
- Keep posts positive.
- Avoid embarrassing or overly private topics.
- Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with a stranger knowing this?”
Online safety takes diligence and a little common sense.