Proud parents all over the country shared pictures of themselves and their kids on the first day at school on social media during this week. Understandably, parents are super proud of this moment, but what you might not know is that there is a big safety concern that comes into play.
Parents are uploading, or have already uploaded, pictures of their children in their school uniforms – either at home or right outside the school premises.
These are the risks:
- Your child’s face and name is now all over the internet on social media. This picture and information can be used by anyone – be it for positive or negative use.
- Your child’s uniform usually has the name of the school on it, so everyone who has access to the image will now know which school your child goes to.
- You could have location settings or open privacy settings on your phone. Followers can easily track where the image was taken and go to the exact location.
“Social media sites are accessible to anyone and everyone who has a desktop or a smart phone. Not everyone on social media uses it for the sheer pleasure of uploading content and sharing memories with friends and family. There is a rise of online predators lurking to cause harm to children on social media platforms. Each time you post a picture of your child, you could be contributing to your child’s digital footprint,” says acting CEO of the Film and Publication Board (FPB), Sandile Nene.
Take these safety tips from the FPB into consideration when sharing images and photos of your children online:
- Apply caution when uploading pictures of yourself or your children in their school uniform. If the name of the school is on the uniform, it can pose a danger to your child.
- Be careful not to post your home (or school) address, phone number or any personal information online. These can be used to locate your child at any moment.
- Know how to operate the location settings on your phone. The images you upload have a location on them if the settings are not turned off.
- Know how to activate the privacy settings on your social media pages. Images you upload can be accessible to anyone and everyone if your privacy settings are not activated.
- If your children are on social media, follow them so that you know what they are posting. This allows you to monitor the content they post and advise them accordingly.
- Know the passwords and log-in details of your child’s social media handles. Children tend to hide things from parents and it’s important to have access to their social media platforms so you can know who they talk to and what they talk about.
- Don’t post pictures of other children on your social media platforms without their parents’ consent. This has serious legal ramifications.
- Monitor the amount of time your children spend on social media. Yes, social media can be a great learning tool for your child, but face-to-face interaction is still a vital element in the child’s development and growth.
- Check the content that is in your child’s phone. The applications they have, the games they play and the social media sites they are on. Not all content is appropriate for children.
- Create an honest and open relationship with your child. Be willing to have conversations with your child about the pros and cons of social media. This allows your child to let you know if they are experiencing any form of bullying, grooming or harassment on social media.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.