You Cannot Take Your Picture Back From the Internet
How often do you feel eager to post the most recent photo of your little one, finally giving in to temptation and thinking: “Everyone should see my cutie!”
According to Common Sense Media, one of the most popular ways of using social media is sharing images of kids with friends and family. The process may be fun and pleasure; however, every parent should think twice before posting “just one more photo.” The Internet is a great way to stay in touch with the whole world, and yet it hides certain threats, especially when it comes to kids and their safety.
Here are the biggest dangers of posting photos online
1. You lose control over your images
As soon as pictures of your kids appear online, anyone may view them, copy, save, tag or spread them – and you will never get to know. Besides, most of the people skip reading terms and conditions of social media sites like Facebook. Well, having read attentively enough you can find a clause that states that you give up all copyrights, ownership and your consent of any media you share on the platform. This means that popular sites like Facebook are not obliged to ask your consent and may use any content you put on their platform in any way they want.
2. You can’t take a photo back from the Internet
Once your photo is uploaded to the Web, you can’t take it back. Any images, as well as any messages, will stay in the worldwide network forever, stored on the servers. If you delete them from the timeline on your FB profile or the message history on Whatsapp, they still won’t disappear from the Internet.
Even changing picture privacy settings in your profile to keep all photos available only for the people on your friends list doesn’t guarantee that someone won’t see it else. Even your friends or relatives may appear to be a “weak link,” having saved a photo or a video of your kid and passing it on through other resources.
Moreover, if you change your mind and delete a photo quickly from your timeline, it can already be viewed and saved by someone.
3. Digital kidnapping
A growing crime called ‘digital kidnapping’ means that individuals or companies steal children’s photos without their parents’ permission and repost these images across the Internet for advertising purposes, frauds or things even worse.
4. Collecting data and targeted advertising
Things you post online have valuable information for data collectors and advertisers. They collect data about you to show targeted advertising to you as their potential customer. As a person who posts photos of a kid, you might be interested in kids toys or clothes – and voila! – you see dozens of related ads on your screen.
Moreover, any time you take your child’s images and post pictures online it leaves his/her digital footprints. Social networking sites like Facebook collect information about your kid and form their identity in the worldwide web years before children decide to sign up for a network.
5. Avoid sharing important information about your kid
By giving too many details, you may as well reveal vital information about your children to online fraudsters and predators. Therefore:
- Turn off GPS tags when posting images of your child in order not to show places where he/she spends much time;
- Try not to post too many photos concerning your kid’s hobbies – sports groups, extracurricular activities, etc.;
- Do not post pictures of any documents containing official information about your child;
- Some experts even advise using a nickname instead of your kid’s real name in any posts online.
6. Don’t post half-naked photos of your children
Avoid showing up online photos where your little ones are half-naked (at the seaside, etc.) no matter how cute and innocent these images seem to be. You never know who and with what purposes may look through them.
7. Think of possible consequences before sharing photos of your children without their consent
Statistics say that:
- Over 1/3 of admissions officers of academic institutions learn more about prospective students on Facebook and Google+. In over 35% of such checks, the discovered information had negatively impacted prospective students’ applications.
- Recruiters in 75% of companies examine applicants’ online reputation. 84% of recruiters think that online reputation impacts hireability.
Obviously, any information that creates your kid’s online identity – even childhood photos – may potentially compromise not only his/her school life but also education and career in future. Moreover, photos that often seem to be cute and funny to parents may appear to be embarrassing for the kids, especially in their teen years, sometimes even with their peers mocking and making fun.
In some cases, children can even sue their parents for posting their childhood photos online without their consent, and therefore violating their right to a personal life, just like an 18-year-old girl Rami from Austria did. Cases of children suing their parents have happened across the US and other countries.
For the same reasons, you’d better always ask the consent of other parents whose children are in the same photo with your child before posting such an image online.
The good thing you can do is involve your children in the process as they grow. Always let them decide which of their photos are OK to share online and which are not.