10 safety tips to know BEFORE sharing your kids' photos on social media
Parents have always loved to share photos of their children especially at special occasions or milestones.
And of course these days, the internet has made it easier than ever to show-off those special moments.
Social media is part-and-parcel of how all of us interact - and it's especially fantastic resource if you have friends and family abroad.
However, as with all things in life, there is a downside... and when it comes to social media and kids - those downsides can be pretty big.
Images and posts shared online are easily accessible to not just your friends but by many others on the internet. And sadly, there are those who might want these images for negative reasons.
Some parents choose not to post any information about their children online, but being realistic - that's a difficult task for many of us.
FBI experts and those working for major social media companies have spoken in the past about the best way to protect images and posts regarding children online - so HerFamily has put together tne of the most essential tips for safeguarding your child's information...
1. Go for the close up
The most important thing you want to do when posting a photo of your child online is make sure that it can't be manipulated or edited in any unsavory way; one of the best ways of doing this is to take a close up shot. Experts in online child protection have said that they have seen images of children downloaded so that strangers can photoshop themselves into the photos and make it appear that they are in the photo with the child - but by taken the photo close up of their face there is no room for anyone to insert themselves into the photograph.
2. Collage it
In the same vein, turning your photos into a collage rather than posting each individual one can help eliminate the chances of anyone trying to download them to edit themselves. The images will be smaller in size and resolution making them more difficult to manipulate.
3. Avoid bath and beach shots
Even though shots of your children in the bath or wiggling their little baby bum at the beach are super cute these are the exact images that dangerous strangers will be on the look out for. Even if your privacy settings are high there is still a chance that your account could be accessed so it's best to keep these images for in-person viewings with close family and friends.
4. Be wary of tagging
When sharing photos on Facebook a lot of us tag other family members (particularly grandparents). The problem with this is that not only can the person who you've tagged view this photo but everyone with access to their profile. So while you might know your own Facebook contacts well enough, you can't be 100 percent certain that that will be the case once they are accessible to everyone on another person's profile.
5. Face away
Another good way to protect your child's identity or to reduce someone's ability to edit your photos is to have your child facing away from the camera. You can still capture a moment of them splashing in a puddle or holding their siblings hand without the need for the face to show. This is a trick that a lot of celebrities use when they want to post a photo of their children as it protects the image from being used by tabloids.
6. Cover the crest
In Ireland we love an aul 1st day of school photo - but another thing very common in Ireland are school uniforms with identifying crests. A lot of school deter parents from sending kids to school with personalized coats or backpacks emblazoned with their names as strangers can use this information to pretend to know the child and lure them away. In the same vein, sharing the identity of your child's school online could put them at risk. When posting photos in uniforms or sports kit cover the crest or logo to prevent anyone from being able to locate your child.
7. Stick to pet names
Similarly, it's best to keep names under wraps. If your child's face can be clearly seen and a stranger can also find their name it's a potential risk to your child's safety. Stick to pet names or initials when posting about your child, example 'C cycling their bike for the first time' or 'Smiley's first tooth'.
8. Turn off location
When posting about your child online it's best to keep where they are to yourself. If you have location settings on automatic for your posts turn it off when sharing any information about your child.
9. Don't divulge your child's routine online
A lot of us snap or post about our daily routine on the reg but while that may be fine for us it can be dangerous for a child and make them an easy target for a predator. Posting frequently about when your child goes to crèche or to any after school activities can make it easier for a stranger to figure out where they're going to be at any time and more to the point when they know you won't be with them so when it comes to your child's routine stay away from social media.
10. If in doubt do without
If you're ever unsure whether or not to share something online veer towards not sharing. As the saying goes better safe than sorry and you're child's safety is always the most important thing.