Challenges are nothing new in the online world. We see them in popular social networking sites every day – ranging from dance challenges, cooking challenges, and even kind of dubious and dangerous ones that keep parents on their toes. But several challenges recently popped up that got a lot of parents participating and others raising their eyebrows.
At first glance, these hashtags/challenges might seem harmless. After all, there’s no harm in sharing your baby’s cute photos to the world right? But sadly, such hashtags/challenges make it easy for dubious individuals to access said photos and use it for their motives. And this is exactly what happened to this mom who saw her baby’s photos on a pedophile website.
So again, let this be a reminder to all parents that it is our responsibility to protect our kids – both in real life and online. Here are a few precautions that we can take to ensure that their photos and even information are safe on social media:
Check your privacy settings
Even after you’ve edited and set these according to your preferences, it’s also advisable to revisit these now and then as some sites change and make adjustments to them from time to time. You can do this for social media sites you frequent and regularly update such as Facebook or Instagram.
One tip: You can limit the audience of your Facebook posts – options include friends, a previously set group of people, public, and even only you.
Always remember that once you post it online, it’s out of your control
Keep in mind that other people can download your photos and crop, edit, or alter it in any way they want. This also applies to words or statements. So it’s best to think before you click, and don’t forget to remind your kids of this too.
Don’t post photos you don’t want everyone to see
Before posting an image, always think about how it might be seen if your kids are older, or how other people such as prospective employers might perceive it.
It’s also best to teach this to your kids. Ask them to always ask themselves whether they’d show the photo to their grandparents and if not, then they probably shouldn’t post it online.
Check your device’s location settings
Location services in social media apps or our devices allow computer-savvy users to track our or our kids’ locations via our posts. So it’s best to always check your device and apps’ privacy and location settings to ensure that it’s off.
Don’t post your child’s real name
Aside from protecting your child’s images, you should also be careful about posting your child’s full name and other details, such as birthdate or birthplace. Also, be wary of joining “challenges” that include questions asking for such details about you or your child.
Try to read the app or site’s Terms and Conditions before signing up
Or scan or do your research first. One red flag is if signing up automatically gives them permission to use or print your images. At the same time, familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of any online promotion or competition as well.
Stay safe online, mamas!
*Originally published in MomCenter