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Yes, this is a parenting blog, so you’d expect that I would be sharing quite a bit about my kid here and that may necessarily involve pictures of my child online. Sharing kids’ pictures online is a very common activity these days, one that we all indulge in. But, do we know of the pitfalls?
As recently as three days ago, I received unwelcome messages through social media from an acquaintance who chose to make inappropriate comments on a profile picture of mine. Suffice to say, the comments were creepy enough for me to block him on every social media channel possible! This got me thinking: how would I feel if my child or any child was the recipient of such messages? It starts with the sharing of pictures, after all.
What is it about sharing kids’ pictures online must you keep in mind, even as a parent blogger?
Here are some pointers which I have learnt to follow:
Limit the Audience:
Children are naturally photogenic. Their smiles light up a room and our hearts almost instantly. It’s but natural that you’d want to share those precious moments. And you should. But, not with the world at large. Create a private photo album on Google Plus or Flickr and share that link by e-mail with close friends and family.
If that is too time-consuming and you are naturally more active on social media, use a filter for your friend circle and share the album only with ‘Close friends’ or ‘Family’. Check the small ‘wheel’ under photos each time you post something on Facebook and ensure that it is NOT set to ‘Public’. For this reason, it makes sense not to share your child’s photo as your Facebook profile picture or the cover photo, since those are always set to ‘Public’ view.
Don’t caption photos of your kids on your blog, Twitter or Instagram with titles such as ‘Had such a fabulous time at the park that’s hardly a five-minute walk from home.’ Did you know your phone/ device has something called a GPS locator? And while you may have taken every precaution to switch it off, your data is sometimes collected anonymously. The Web is a dangerous place and you really do not want some creepy stalker landing up at your doorstep or anywhere within a five-mile radius of your home.
Ensure they are fully clothed:
This seems like a no-brainer, because, who’s going to post pictures of their newborns/kids in all their glory? No, what I meant is those moments when you capture the kids in a moment of free play and you don’t realise that the pants were riding a bit low, revealing a bit of their derriere or that they were flashing their knickers during a pillow fight. While this may not seem like such a big deal to most people, it is definitely a teaser for pedophiles out there.