This article has been reprinted with permission from HerLifeSparkles.com
Yay, the kids are headed back-to-school. No more snacking uncontrollably, drinking all the juice or toys all over the house. Let’s pause the excitement for a bit and have a quick heart-to-heart. Y’all, nothing annoys me more than seeing parents carelessly share personal information at back-to-school time. I know we’re excited but we still have to think. Child trafficking and kidnapping are real and I’d hate to hear that someone that I’m connected to in life or online has been a victim.
Social media had desensitized us to what a stranger really is. We keep up with each other day-to-day, so we truly feel like we know each other. People have literally watched my children grow up, and they feel like they’re part of our family. The scary truth is that we really don’t know what goes on with other people once we log off our social accounts. Especially when you openly share your life on social media as I do. There is a way to be public and still maintain a sense of privacy.
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re not giving away too much information in the midst of your first day of school excitement:
- When you upload pictures to Facebook, most times it will automatically add the location for you. Turn off the automated geotagging feature so that you don’t accidentally post it. Skip mentioning the name in the caption too, search engines are smart and they will be able to pick up all of that information if it’s populated. We know where elementary school starts and ends, telling us what grade they are going to is more than enough information.
- Actually, let’s just stop geo-tagging and checking into places while we are there. Especially, if you have your children with you. At best, check-in after you’re gone. Safety should always be the priority.
“…If your child wears uniforms with an identifiable school crest either position them to where it won’t show in the photo or blur it.”
Erase Location Clues
- We all love those cute little first day of signs from Etsy right? They have their name, age, grade, school name, teacher name, favorite color, food, and basically the answer to almost any internet security question you can think of right? Did you freak out yet? LOL! Either blur the sign completely or only send those pictures to immediate family. Additionally, if your child wears uniforms with an identifiable school crest either position them to where it won’t show in the photo or blur that too. Along with making sure that any easily identifiable land marks are not in the photo as well.
- And since we are here, please stop putting their names all over the clothes, backpacks, and lunch boxes. Did you know that when a stranger knows your child’s name, your child is more likely to trust them? Yea, cut it out!
Limit Your Audience
- I believe both IG and Facebook now have the option to create a custom friends list. So get to selecting your VIPs and only share the photos with them; just keep in mind that nothing is foolproof or should I say glitch-proof. There is always the option of a good old fashioned group text with your family but don’t forget to ask them not to post your child’s photos online. As much as I share online day-to-day there are still pictures that I don’t want on the internet. My sisters, parents, and in-laws get picture happy with my kids and I have to tell them when there is a certain pic I don’t want on the internet. Gotta love family but this leads me to my last point.
Don’t Share Other People’s Kids Photos Without Permission
- Just because I share my kids online doesn’t mean that you can! *insert claps between every word.*Because I mean every word of this, my kids are my business and other folks kids are their business. Always ask. Don’t assume you have permission to share anything involving a child. If you must share, crop the picture or at least cover their sweet faces with an emoji.
- That concludes my public service announcement about being safe in these internet streets. I live a fine line between loving everyone I encounter and thinking everyone is a serial killer. Blame it on me watching too much of the Investigation Discovery channel. Finding a balance between being both public and private is a daily struggle for me when it comes to my family. I just want to be a voice of reason, tell a friend to tell a friend and if you see someone doing something mentioned above, please correct them.
- In other news, we survived another summer break.