10 important things to note and do before sharing your kid’s photos online
One common trend on social media is sharing pictures of our kids, which gives rise to the need to protect our kids’ pictures on social media. Some of those who practise this trend claim it helps them share the developmental stages of their kids with friends and relatives who may not be within reach, makes them feel less alone, helps them worry less and keep memories. Many others claim it helps them get advice from other parents on issues such as nutrition, discipline, behaviour problems among others. One important question to ask is “How safe is this practice”. While it is easy to connect with others and share memories via social media, it’s also convenient for identity thieves and other criminals to use people’s pictures for wicked purposes.
some facts worth noting about sharing our kids’ photos online
- When you sign up to social networking sites you also partly agree with them using your personal data to some extent.
- By posting photos of your kids you have made a part of their lives become permanently available online without their consent which forms their identities in a world they are not ready to enter.
- Useful information may be gathered by kidnappers, traitors and witch hunters from the comments made on the photos by family and friends.
- Your kid’s picture is a valuable information for data collectors and advertisers because the photo automatically reveals you as someone who will need kids products.
- If the GPS (global positioning system) is enabled on your phone, the time you took the photo and your exact location can be disclosed to an interested party. This implies that if you snap a picture at home on your camera phone, it is possible that a stranger finds where you live.
- Once you post a photo online, you lose control over it. Anyone could easily copy the photo, tag it, save it, or use it as he or she pleases without your knowledge. Some of the several ways the photos can be misused include:
- Baby-role playing: A trend on social media, especially Instagram which involves users posting a photo of a child they find online and claim it’s their child. They post things about the baby, while followers play along by commenting on the photos. A search for hashtags like #babyrp, #kidrp or #adoptionrp will reveal thousands of these posts.
- Child pornography: Innocent family photos can also be taken from blogs, social media accounts, or other photo-sharing sites and posted with other inappropriate content, captions or comments that lead to links of child pornography.
- Advertising: Some advertisers will take photos they find on the Internet and use them in ad campaigns or promoting a product elsewhere. Several of such experiences abound all over. While some eventually get to know about it, many others never find out about it. You never can tell if your child is in an ad photo right now.
- Fake profiles: We all know there are a lot of profiles and accounts on social media that are not real, and used for a number of different purposes, most often to scam other people. Those who create them often use stolen images, which means your kid’s photos could be someone else’s profile.
- Memes: A funny picture of your child may become an Internet sensation. Though the picture is funny, using it without your permission is not a laughing matter. And once it’s out there, we both know it’s pretty hard to delete as it may have been shared by multiple users on multiple sites.
- Kidnapping: Photos of your child may be shared with kidnappers or traitors to help identify the child quickly. Thereafter, you are asked to pay huge sums as a ransom for the child.
Having read all these, should you never post pictures of your children online? No! Rather, you should carefully think through and safeguard photos and information about your children before posting on the Internet.
10 ideas for protecting your kid’s photos and avoiding misuse
- Make your accounts or your photos private if you must post pictures of your children and don’t want people using it for other purposes. You can learn how to do this on most popular social media sites from This info-graphic
- use photo-sharing sites such as Flickr that require users to log in to see pictures unlike on social media, where all your followers can see them.
- Be careful about who you share with. You can share pictures of your children with only your closest friends and family.
- Watermark your photos. This discourages people from stealing your photos because it’s more work for them to remove a watermark. Learn how-to-watermark-your-photos here or you can download iWatermark app or A+ Signature app
- Don’t share your location. Turn off location settings (GPS) on your phone and don’t post pictures that would help someone identify where you are or where you live.
- Post low-resolution photos. This makes it hard for someone to enlarge and print your pictures, thus making them unsuitable for things like advertisements. This step-by-step guide can help you out with that.
- Carefully select the photos you share. To avoid theft by predators or baby-role players, let the photos include other people.
- Do not post embarrassing pictures of your kids. A picture that is funny to you now may be humiliating for him in the future.
- Google Image Search can trace your children’s photos anywhere on the web. Upload a picture and the search engine will find the same image, even if the photo has been cropped or resized. If the same picture is posted anywhere else on the internet, Google will pull it up. Many people have been shocked to discover that their children’s profile pictures have been used without permission.
- Examine deeply your motive for sharing the picture. If strong enough, go ahead. Otherwise, don’t post it.
Even with these precautions, there is still a chance that your photos could be misused, so always upload responsibly to ensure the well-being of your kids.
As for me, I hardly post pictures of my kids on any social media accounts majorly for security reasons; As I definitely loose control over what is being done to the pictures once they are posted.
Do you share your kids’ photos online? What’s your motive for this decision? Kindly share your opinion on this issue in the comments section below. We may learn something new from you. Please keep your comments respectful.