October 2017 - Think Twice Before Posting Those Photos

Taking Photos Think your kids spend too much time on social media? Think again.

Over the last three years, social media usage among the 55 and older crowd has increased by almost 50%, per isl.co’s blog published February 1, 2017. And the most popular platform – Facebook; according to Hootsuite, 71% of U.S. adults with internet access use Facebook.

For parents today, social media is the digital equivalent of a wallet bursting with snapshots. Halloween is prime photo-op time but, before you share those photos, be careful.

The dangers:

  • Your photos contain location or personal identifiers. House numbers, street signs, children’s full names, birth dates, places of birth, school logos, uniforms are all clues to where your children are at any given time and can lead to identity theft or to a disturbing trend known as ‘digital kidnapping.’ Digital kidnapping is when strangers steal photos of children posted online and use them for role-playing. Sometimes the stranger poses as the child; sometimes as the child’s parent, even giving the child a new name. Unfortunately, digital kidnapping itself isn’t a crime, but the ‘theft’ of the photo could be considered a copyright infringement.
  • Your photos share potentially embarrassing moments. As cute as these moments seem to you, they can be used by others to shame or cyberbully your child.
  • Your photos include other people’s children. In 2012, New Jersey and Georgia adopted laws relating to the unauthorized taking or dissemination of photos of children.
  • Your photos are shared outside your ‘friends’ circle.’ We caution our children about privacy settings on their social media accounts and activate them on our own accounts, but we can’t be sure others are as diligent.

Because children might not understand the dangers of sharing personal information online, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was adopted in 1998. COPPA prevents websites and online services from collecting personal information from children 13 and younger. Parents, however, should understand the dangers. Before posting that next picture, ask yourself if you are violating your child’s privacy and putting his or her safety at stake.

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