Words

Putting our kids online – the dangers

February 22, 2016

This post started as a rant about the copious amount of kid photos on social media

but I quickly thought better of it feeling it wasn’t appropriate or kind, so forgive me.

I’m a mother myself

and I constantly question at what stage  did sharing multiple pictures of our offspring become a natural part of our society?

I guess it’s when we allowed social media into the lonely ‘off peak’ hours of our lives.

Facebook became king and we bowed at the knee of it’s genius ability to share information worldwide at the very click of a button!

Sharing our lives with family and friends afar came straight from our own homes and from our phones using our fore finger and thumb.

I appreciate that I am quite the sharer myself, I even say so here.

My Instagram accounts show insights into my everyday life as a fitness freak and an artist.

But I like to think I have some boundaries…

Naturally, I post an image from time to time of my beautiful handsome devilish little brats on my private accounts.

I fully recognise that we are proud of our babes

and want to share the beauty with the online world that has crossed quite naturally into our private worlds.

Lines are blurred and our guards are down.

Don’t be fooled, I have created my own mess like when my seven year old says “how much love (likes) did you get on your photo Mum?” Ugh..

Have we ever stopped to ask how wee Sally or Sammy feels about her piano recital going onto social media?

I imagine most of us (me included) haven’t.

Just to get real.

I have completed umpteen different child protection, police protection and first aid training courses throughout my working life which has been primarily with small children and young people with learning disabilities.  And I can confirm that it is a frightening society we live in where child pornography and abuse is rife.

No really, it is horrible and present and out there.

We assume it’s safe to share holidays snaps and plead ignorance to the fact that some sick idiot somewhere searches for “child with brown eyes and long blonde hair” can download an image of our child with the mere click of a button, to satisfy their sick twisted desires.

I find that although I have shown images in the past and allowed glimpses into my everyday which inevitably shows my kids,

I have always had my child protection training in the back of my mind.

Enough to know that

once we put that image into the online atmosphere, it can be tracked, hacked and recorded.

Once posted, a digital footprint (path) is created for each individual in the photo. Scary thought.

Even scarier that our wee Jonny might not want to see his bare butt in a digital file under his name in fifteen years time when he does a google search of himself for a School project.

Forgive me for implying that I don’t want to see photos of your children, because I do.

I am simply highlighting that you wouldn’t throw your kids under a speeding bus so let’s try to hold back on the spam and keep our kids safe from the train wreck paedophiles in our society.

A few safety tips when posting images of our kids

  1. Refrain from the bikini, beach shots showing more skin.
  2. Check ALL of the security tabs as much as possible on e mail and social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, instagram. “Private settings” only cover a certain degree but if you have a strong desire to share a photo then know that you have done all you can to protect your kids.
  3. NEVER put your home address in the “check in” tab. This can help paedophiles in their prying or tracking down of a child. You adding the address is like an invite sugar coated and gift wrapped.
  4. Consider using nicknames for your kids as a way of protecting their identity. It may come across extreme but that photo of wee Sheila in her halloween costume can be printed from a Facebook screen and if it has the location you reside plus the name of the child, you are keeping NOTHING secret.
  5. Print more images from digital to a physical format. I am guilty of not printing my photos. But let’s make a point of printing our images so we treasure them in frames or on our walls. When we do this our images take a different role and are altogether more important than the tiny instagram square which got us 100 likes in the online world.

The online world is a FUN place and has made my life as a parent and a business woman a hundred times easier. I mean no harm to the power of the digital age and please know that I am educating myself by posting this blurb as well as others.

Here is another article I liked on this topic.

I genuinely do love to see the photos of your gorgeous children on my feed.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

*To follow more of Aly’s posts and recipes please drop your preferred e mail address in the box to the right of your laptop or at the bottom of your mobile device.*

5 Comments

  • Reply Alison Lowrie February 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    so….maybe I’m ignorant to FB security but If I google my own name, there are no FB photos of me that come up at all. So how is it that my child’s will just pop up?

    • Reply Aly February 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting. That’s so good that your Facebook security is up to date and works for you. I was referencing a deeper problem where some apps leak our personal information despite saying otherwise. The digital footprint of the images of our kids, once published may be secure on our Facebook settings when we google our name but every like and comment to that photos creates a separate foot on the digital footprint of that particular photo with each face in the shot and name underneath.. if that makes sense?! Sadly it’s hackers and the de coding of images that can put us all at risk as well as our kids. Don’t think I am innocent as I have images of my kids in my private and my public domain. It’s just good for us to protect the little tikes as much as possible , especially as they have no say in who sees what we share. Thanks again for engaging

      • Reply Alison February 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        I get that. I guess we individually have to weigh up the risk of a random pedophile targeting us out of the billions of photos out there and hacking into my account personally to get pictures of my daughter vs being able to share updates of my daughter with my family halfway across the world. At what point do we become “over concerned” about this risk. I mean – should I not let my child walk herself to school in the future in case she is kidnapped? Or go trick or treating on the off chance there is poison in the candy? Risks exist everywhere in life, and now they exist in the digital age as society progresses in technology. I suppose it’s hard to know when worrying is too much. I think the points about how to be cautious is a good way to mitigate for the risk (for example tagging yourself at home). I don’t think anyone but my friends can see it according to my settings but I guess there is a risk with that where it means people wohld have a picture of my daughter and know our location which is scary

  • Reply songofanest April 24, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I think you are so wise to address this subject. We are the first generation of parents to encounter this issue and we should at least put some thought into how we navigate this uncharted water. I try to put myself in my kid’s shoes and imagine how I would feel now if my parents had ‘shared ‘ hundreds of photos of me in childhood and indeed my little stories and escapades. . . . . and it helps me figure out what to share and what to treasure only within my own wee nest. Thanks for opening up this conversation.

    • Reply Aly April 25, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my post and to comment! I agree, so much of my worry goes back to my own views on how i would feel about the embarrassing poo stories or the names bath pics with my bro making it online for all to navigate and see!! But, I have to think logically and remember that today everything in our society is different so I can’t fight against the machine too much. Happy Monday and thanks again

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