Most children have a digital footprint before they’re even born. Studies reveal that kids will have over 1,000 pictures of themselves on social media before their fifth birthday.
While posting pictures of little ones can be a convenient way to share milestones with friends and family, there are some dangers parents should be aware of.
Identity theft is one big concern. Criminals only need a child’s name, address, and birthday to steal their persona. Images and captions of kids often contain this info. First-day-of-school posts are especially risky because parents can unknowingly reveal sensitive information like teachers’ names, the school’s name and even house numbers.
Posting pics of your kids online can also attract child predators who use info like your child’s favorite color or aspirations to groom them. Also, many pornographic pictures of children online are taken from social media sites and photoshopped or retouched.
If you do decide to post pictures of your children, experts say to keep the details to a minimum. Check the background of photos to make sure there aren’t any hints about where you live. Never include teacher or school names.
Also, confirm your privacy settings on your pages to make sure they aren’t set to public. It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family members to refrain from using photos or videos of your child.
Lastly, if your child is over age 4, ask for their permission before posting a picture.
Another thing to watch out for is devices in your home, like Nest or Alexa, that take in digital data and share it to a software application. Experts say these, too, can pose privacy issues as they capture video and record children’s voices.