For parents, the internet is an indispensable tool for keeping in touch with family and friends who may live several states away (or across the world). Connected technology makes sharing videos and photos a fast, easy process. However, as a recent New York Times article suggests, parents should be aware of the risks– no parent wants to find a photo of their 4-year old being used on a social networking site in a foreign country1.
When it comes to building an online reputation for yourself and your children, it’s important to learn to be confident and competent online– in this way you can avoid the risks and keep your family (and your photos) safe. We have the following five suggestions for confident and competent photo sharing:
Choose a platform that offers privacy settings, has a clear terms of service agreement and provides an easy way to report abuse (for example, Flickr). You want to know that someone will answer your complaint.
Use privacy settings that allow only family and friends (and not the whole world) to view photos of your children.
Choose your photos carefully. Everything posted online is saved in a cache file. These cache files are stored in locations all over the world. Even if you’ve chosen a platform with good privacy and security features, once you upload photo files online– you lose complete control over them.
Limit the identifiable information that goes with the photo. Don’t publish the private information (such as birthdays, maiden names and cities where your child was born). Hackers can use this information to access bank accounts and credit cards.
Remember: everything we post on the web creates a digital footprint. Protect your children by not identifying them in a way that could hurt their future academic or employment opportunities.
1 Quenqua, Dounglas (October 2009). Guardians of Their Smiles. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/fashion/25facebook.html?_r=4