Is it safe to post photos of my kid online?

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Is it safe to post photos of my kid online? What should I consider? What should I do?

Asked on: 11/28/2016
1 answer

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Do so with restraint and thought.
Sharing photos of your children online can be part of a rewarding bond with other parents. A typical parent will post roughly 1,000 photos of each child before the child turns 5 years old, according to another recent survey of 2,000 parents by The Parent Zone, a U.K.-based site devoted to Internet safety and parenting in the digital age.
More than half (53%) of these photos are posted on Facebook, while the remainder are posted on Twitter, Instagram and other sites. A quarter of parents say they never ask permission of people in photos before sharing them and nearly one-fifth of parents have never checked their privacy settings. Indeed, less than half of the parents surveyed are even aware that photos often contain data about where they were taken.
"Face recognition" software is now a reality, and the technology has become so accurate that, even when the person's name isn't included, applications such as Facebook are starting to recognize faces. As a result, protecting one's privacy is becoming even more difficult. With this in mind, we should all be very careful about posting children’s photos.
Recommendations. Here are some thoughts to consider:
• Be present. Photographing your child so you can post that photo on Facebook might be a sign that you are putting the prospect of Facebook ‘likes’ ahead of being present with their child.
• Save the embarrassment. Parents rarely think ahead a few years to when their child may cringe to see an old photo of themselves online.
• Avoid putting your child at risk. The majority of parents who use social media (74%) say they know of another parent who has shared too much information about a child, including parents who posted photos, tagged the children by name and included personal information that could identify a child’s location (town, school, etc.), according to a 2014 survey of 570 parents by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
• Honor your child’s right to privacy. Your child is a separate human being, and you might want to show some respect for his/her autonomy and privacy.
• Avoid Identity Theft. It's important to note that a child's identity could be compromised. The more data that’s made available, the easier it is for a criminal to piece together and steal a person’s ID – regardless of the person’s age.
• Check your privacy settings (photos often contain data about where they were taken) and ensure that only your close friends can see your photos. Don’t tag children by name. Your close friends should know who they are.
Kids should have veto power over the pictures we take and post on social media. Some experts say that we need to teach children the message that we own our bodies and we own our image. Ask questions like, ‘Would you mind me sending it to grandma or grandpa?”

• Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age” and research associate at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. Her research is based on interviews with 1,000 children between four and 18 years of age, 24 children aged between two and four, 250 adults aged 18 to 30, plus 500 teachers and 500 parents. (link is external)  

Answered on: 12/14/2016