There’s nothing wrong with sharing photos of your children online with friends and family. However, if parents don’t manage privacy settings, the photos and videos can be viewed by anybody, including online predators, identity thieves and the rest of the world.
Things to consider before sharing photos or info about children
Online grooming is when a predator forms a trusting relationship with a victim through online communication, with the purpose of preparing the victim for sexual abuse in the future. Predators take advantage of the Internet or mobile phones as an easy way to meet and maintain contact with potential victims, usually targeting children and young people. Child grooming may also be used to attract minors to criminal activity such as child pornography.
Here are some warning signs that your child might be at risk:
Your child spends too much time online
Instead of hanging out with friends, they would rather spend time on their computer or mobile device, chatting with strangers. Your child may like being online late at night because there’s no one around to monitor what they’re doing. When a child spends too much time online, they become more exposed to online predators and paedophiles.
As a parent, it’s important for you to educate yourself on the latest online threats, establish rules and discuss safety practices to educate your kids about safe Internet use. Teenagers are particularly at risk because they mostly get online unsupervised and are more likely than younger kids to participate in online activities.
Decide on limits
Your online reputation is the way people perceive you based on what you say or do online. Everything that you post online, and everything that others post about you contributes to your online reputation.
There are a growing number of location-based apps available for smartphone and other devices, making it easy to show your friends and family where you are and what you’re doing. Smartphones have a built-in feature which uses GPS and cell tower locations to pinpoint your approximate location. This allows you to post your location online through social networking sites or apps and is also used by location-based services such as maps. The location data can also be embedded in photos you take on your smartphone.