Safe photo sharing, how to safely do it?

Remind your child to think twice before posting personal information on social networks. Personal information includes personal photos. Photo-sharing on social networking sites is very common amongst children and teenagers, according to the NISR report 48% of children (12-18 year olds) have posted pictures and/or videos of themselves online.

No need to give up sharing photos, all you need is to follow the next tips in order to protect yourself & children when sharing photos online and reduce the risks associated with posting photos. These tips are just some among many other. You can add more guides by yourself:

  1. Privacy Settings: They are the tools that help you specify exactly who can view your posts or personal information.
    1. Devices: Check your device security & privacy settings, insure every application has access to the needed information and not to more than what is needed, for example if you download an image sharing application and it requests accessing your email, remember to disable access as it is not needed for the use of the application.
    2. Social networks: Before registering, check the privacy settings available. Tumblr for example, does not have the privacy feature, Instagram enables the user to set their account to Private or Public, on the other hand, Facebook allows users to have full control on their posts visibility. You can visit the settings page to determine who can view your photos, “friends”, “friends of friends”, or “everyone”.
  2. Review your friends list: Take time to explore the profiles of your friends. Make sure you know them all. If you have accepted a friend request from someone you know, but they appear to have posted offensive posts on their profile, you might want to remove them from your friends list.
  3. Disable Location option: If you are planning to post some photos from your device, turn off the GPS option before taking photos. Make it a habit to check your photos and the information or tags they may include before sharing them.
  4. Consider your image content & surroundings: When capturing photos for online sharing a T-shirt with a school logo can tell who you are. A photo containing a shot of your home or car plate number could tell much about you.
  5. Apply a watermark: Applying a watermark, a nickname or a logo, to your own photos (content) could work as a feature that informs others that it is not an image to be reused, and makes it difficult for someone to misuse the photo.

The term privacy and security describes how personal information is managed, and protected when using the internet.

Here are some tips and guides to help children surf safely online:

  • Teach them to never give any real details about their identity. Kids need to know that, as it is not safe to reveal personal information publicly, it is the case to online contacts.
  • The internet is not the right place to share any private information that reveals their real identity. Information like phone numbers, parent’s work address, home address, school name, and parents’ names or friends’ full names are not to be shared with anyone online. Ask your kids to get back to you whenever such information is asked.
  • Interact with your children online. Being involved online in children’s virtual life’s has become as important as physically being present. It is also a perfect way to know the networks they visit and prefer.
  • Who does your child chat with online? You need to know about their online friends and contacts as much as you do about their real life friends. Of course, this involves encouraging them to introduce you to their online friends. Encourage them to only use specific chat applications that you trust. Educate them about the potential risks that private or one-on-one chats may involve.
  • Open discussions are very necessary. Inform your children about actual real-life stories of how other children unfortunately became victims of online predators as a result of improper online activities. Make sure they know it is important to involve you whenever they feel uncomfortable while interacting online.
  • Online friends are not to be met in person without your knowledge or involvement.
  • Remind them to think twice about posting pictures. Sharing personal pictures with online friends is nice as long as it’s done under your supervision. Make your child is aware of how posting pictures publicity or to contacts you don’t know is unsafe. Once pictures are posted or shared online, they stay online forever, any user could save or take a screenshot of their post. An innocent but unsuitable photo shared today can be used to harm them or their reputation in the future and even their chances of employment. Remind them, if his/her future employer found their picture online, or in one of the social media sites, what would be their reaction be?
  • Passwords are not to be revealed to anyone at any circumstance. In case this happened, ask them to inform you immediately so you can restore it and react appropriately.

Teach them to be selective about what they view. Teach them to avoid visiting inappropriate websites, and if they ever are faced with an inappropriate image, video or page, teach them to refuse anything that doesn’t go hand in hand with their morals and values.

  • Teach your children about the safe way to use emails. Warn them from malware and phishing scams. Deleting emails from unknown sources is one way to avoid these risks.

Here’s a link to an informative short video you can share with your children: