Kim Kardashian loves posting photos of her daughter North West on Instagram. Photo: @kimkardashian. Source:Instagram
How Posting Pics of Your
Kids can Put them at Risk
THE average number of kiddie photos parents are posting online before their little ones turn five years old is 973, according to new research out of the UK, and it’s got the experts worried.
What’s concerning these experts is that so many parents are doing this without adequately checking their privacy settings, which means the chances of these photos falling into the wrong hands is … well, a lot higher than we will ever care to imagine! And when the wrong people do get hold of your kids’ photos, the consequences can be shocking.
Photo: @kimkardashian. Source: Instagram
When photo sharing on social media backfires
Earlier this month, we shared the story of US woman, Brittany Champagne,
who discovered that images of her eight-year-old daughter and nine-month-old son were stolen from Facebook and popping up on porn sites all over the internet. And then there was the story last year about photos being grabbed from Facebook and Instagram and used on creepy ‘adoption role-play’ websites that quickly turned from silly fun into perverted and violent cyber nightmare.
It’s countless stories like these, and the many more that no doubt will follow, that made UK company Nominet commission research for it’s online safety campaign,knowthenet
. Conducted by The Parent Zone, the research revealed that “17 per cent of parents have never checked their Facebook privacy settings and almost half (46 per cent) have only checked once or twice, despite the social network being the most common platform for photo sharing”.
A total of 2000 parents were interviewed for this study, and 39 per cent believe they own the sole rights to images posted on Facebook while 17 per cent think the same for Instagram, despite the fact that both of these social media sites can use any uploaded images to promote their sites without gaining explicit permission to do so.
And even more alarmingly, parents are also uploading images of other children, not just their own, onto social media without necessarily getting permission first.
“A quarter (25 per cent) confess to never asking the permission of the people in photos before posting them and over half (53 per cent) have uploaded a photo of a child that wasn’t their own,” reports knowthenet.
North West with her great grandmother, MJ. Photo: @kimkardashian. Source: Instagram
Why your online privacy is so important
While sharing photos of our families is a great way to connect to people you otherwise might not see on a regular basis, it is incredibly easy to inadvertently put your privacy, and that of your kids, at serious risk.
“We all love to share those precious moments in our children’s lives with friends and family and sites like Facebook have made it easier than ever,” says Russell Haeworth, CEO of Nominet.
“While the web helps relatives to keep in touch and participate in our everyday lives, it also has the potential to lead to accidental oversharing. It’s important to ensure that the correct privacy settings are in place to safeguard our personal information and content. Parents are creating a large digital footprint for their child from a young age, and the right settings are important if you want to stay in control.”
And even if your precious photos are never pinched by porn sites or other vulgar online beasts, it’s very important to remember that posting photos of your kids online has other far-reaching ramifications.
“Today’s youth is the first generation to grow up with social networks as an integral part of everyday life so it’s important we stop and think about how they might feel about content that’s shared now when they’re older,” says Vicki Shotbolt, CEO and Founder of The Parent Zone.
“No one would want a potential employer browsing through their baby photos, so making sure privacy settings are applied properly is always a good idea. Of course parents should feel comfortable uploading photos to social networks, but thinking about whether it’s an appropriate image first will go a long way to avoiding any unwanted repercussions in the future.”
When sharing photos online, here’s some recommended safety tips from knowthenet:
Check your privacy settings — not just once but regularly, to ensure that they haven’t changed.
Think before you upload — consider whether your picture is appropriate or whether it could cause embarrassment to your kid later on. And if you’re posting pics of other kids, seek permission first!
Don’t overshare — there’s no need to upload every single picture you take, and in effect use social media as a family picture album.
Track the changes of all social media sites you use — rules and regulations change all the time, so it’s important to keep abreast of your rights.