Saturday 18 November 2017

Parents warned about sharing back-to-school photos of kids online

Stock photo: Getty/NurPhoto
Stock photo: Getty/NurPhoto

Sorcha O'Connor

Parents are being warned to consider the darker side of posting back-to-school photos of their children online.

CyberSafeIreland has advised parents to think about the personal information they are giving away if they do not exercise caution when it comes to privacy settings on social media.

CEO Alex Cooney told the Irish Independent that while it was important for parents to document special moments with their children, they should be careful.

"Thinking about what you are sharing in that photograph, you're often sharing a name but also how old your child is, because it might be the first day of school.

"You're revealing where they go to school, and consequently, where you live," she said.

"If you haven't turned off your geo-location settings, you could be revealing exactly where you live.

"That's a lot of information to be putting out in the public domain."

She said while parents can be very protective of what their children do online to ensure they are safe, they can sometimes forget to be cautious themselves. "A key message we give to children is to not share too much information and be really careful about the digital footprint they are creating, because obviously that could affect them in the years to come," she said.

"We know employers and colleges look at your online profile, these things do have an impact in the future, and some things you may be able to delete and some you may not."

She said children have a digital footprint before they even have a chance to create one themselves, because their parents are creating it for them.

Sharing photos through email or a private messaging group was a better way of sharing with friends and relations, she said.

"Of course, if you have your privacy settings absolutely tight you may only be sharing with friends but you don't know if they will share on," she added.

While it may seem harmless fun, Ms Cooney pointed out there are predators looking to piece together information on the whereabouts of young children.

"There are people out there who are looking for this information, who want to put a picture together," she said.

Irish Independent

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