First day of school photos are a favorite tradition for many, even during a pandemic. But wait! Be sure to take a quick look through a slightly different lens. Before posting any back-to-school photos on Instagram, Facebook, or elsewhere, do a quick safety scan. Do the pictures have any identifying information about your child you may not have noticed before? If so, reconsider posting or edit out any personal info. Likewise, reconsider having names on backpacks, lunchboxes, clothes, etc. The same is true for any information about your kids that you share online. Check out these guidelines below from about which photos to think twice about before posting online.
For those with older kids who have access to their own social media accounts, keep talking with them about staying safe online using the suggestions below.
1. Photos of Children Next to School Signs
A photo with your child posed next to their school sign can be a sweet momento, but sharing it online puts that child at risk! School names are easily searchable online, and provides the specific location and time when your child will be present at the school. Caregivers: take note! This is a great photo for yourself for memory’s sake, but not one to post on social media.
2. Photos of Children Next to Home Addresses
Many caregivers like sharing photos of their children off to school, by their front door or on a porch. While this can be a fun backdrop, stop to make sure your apartment or house number aren’t present in the photo before sharing it online.
3. Photos of Children Next to School Buses
Nothing signals back to school time like a photo next to a big yellow school bus. However, posting photos with the school bus number included provide the exact route, time and location of your child to the world. Make sure to remove the number if you choose to share.
4. Photos with Children holding Informational Signs
Having children pose with a sign including their name, age, grade level, teacher’s name, and favorite parts of school is a popular tradition for many caregivers. It can be a great way to remember what the child was like and mark how they’ve grown throughout the years. This might be a better photo to keep off of social media, however, because it provides far too much identifying information on your child.
What the Experts Say About “Sharenting”
For a thought-provoking and informative conversation about social media and child safety, listen to the episode “Sharenting: how much should you share about your kids online?” of Vox’s Recode Daily, featuring Leah Plunkett, author of “Sharenthood: Why We Should Think Before we Talk About Our Kids Online.”
You can listen to a clipped, 11-minute version of the same interview called “Should you Sharent?” also found on Recode Daily.
Here’s to a safe, healthy, and fun school year!