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Should We Be Posting Photos of Our Kids Online?

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I know what you're going to say..."Don't be so silly, of course I can take pics of my kids and post them online". Yeh, that's probably the case but let's look at it in more detail.

What Are The Risks?

1. Children Are More Vulnerable to Identity Theft Than Adults

Because children don't tend to start using their 'credit' until they get their very own mobile phone, the credit files of children are typically targeted by cyber criminals. Why? Cyber criminals get much longer to exploit that unused credit file until it is discovered. An adult is constantly using their credit file and when something suspicious goes on, it's usually noticed fast. However, for children this is not the case so we should be especially wary.

We recommend setting up credit monitoring for all the family. Checkout our guidance on it here in your Secure Protection Checklist.

 

2. Children Are More Vulnerable to Sexual Predators Than Adults

Unfortunately, kids are targeted by sexual predators online via social media and the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. We recommend ensuring that your social media profiles are locked down (i.e. not featured on search engines and not publicly available). We have a whole how-to video here dedicated to helping you set these settings up properly.

 

3. Invasion of Privacy

While your children when they're young might not give a second thought to what you share of them on social media, but that may not stay true as they grow older. You might not think it now, but when your child grows up they might not have wanted themselves to have been plastered allover the internet at such an early age.

There is a risk children could grow up to feel like they don’t have ownership over their own bodies or own values. They may have disagreed with the social or political values you inherently impressed upon them as children. For example, the political march you joined or the post about who your family was voting for.

The key fix to this is simple - ask them. Commonsense media say that kids start to develop a sense of self-perception and how the rest of the world perceives them at around five years old. Ask for their permission and ask what they are comfortable you posting online. Much like you might do with your family and friends. Explain from a balanced point of view the benefits and risks of each viewpoint and let them decide.

 

4. Job Prospects

It wasn't the case when we were getting our feet onto the career ladder, but nowadays, employees use social media and google as a key step in the candidate selection process. You may actually be inadvertently harming their future job prospects by posting a lot of them online from an early age. The less information there is discoverable online about a particular candidate, the more that employer has to use what is presented  in front of them (the candidate themselves, and not their online brand).

 

5. Cyber Bullying is Now Prevalent

Again, it wasn't an issue when we went to school but now cyber bullying is rife in every school around the world. Cyber bullying is extremely damaging because victims cannot escape. They can't come home and escape to the safety of their bedroom. it is everywhere. It can have a significant mental and physical  toll on kids. Media posted on them can always be dug up later by bullies and used against them.

If you feel like this might apply to you, you can always reduce the online footprint of your child, you do so read our guide on that here.

 

Conclusion

You'll notice that for most of the issues above we have suggested a way to mitigate that risk and protect your family online 😉 This isn't some ploy...the point is this - all these risks are manageable so crack on taking snaps of your family just ensure you adhere to the rules below! In summary;

  • Remove geo-location tagging from your mobile device - not sure how? Check out our how-to video here.
  • Ensure yours and your kids social media profiles have the right privacy settings. Not sure what settings you need? Check out our how-to video here.
  • Be careful what you're posting online - don't post sensitive personal data online. See our guide here on what not to post online.

 

Influencers? If you're an influencer and have kids...the situation is slightly different. The risks are greater because the reach you have (and what we call the 'attack surface') is much greater because of your vast followings. If you're an influencer and want to know specific guidance on what to post online, just as our experts in the member forum here 🙂

 

 

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