It’s hard to believe, but summer is ending and a new school year is about to begin. This time of year, parents love to show off their kids in their “first day” photos holding those Etsy-style signs. As much as we all love the cuteness overload, all the sharing can be dangerous.
You’ll soon start seeing these trendy posts all over social media. You know, the one where you’re taking a picture of your kid holding a board with information about him like his teacher’s name, his best friends, and his favorite color. Cute? Yes, but these posts could be giving criminals the keys to commit a crime against your family and your children with this information, such as your child’s teacher or what he wants to be when he grows up, being used to gain access to your child.
As much as social media has been a great way to share all the highlights of our lives, including our children, it has become a haven for child predators. According to the Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center, there are around 500,000 online predators active every day. Even with your privacy settings adjusted to only include “friends”, information is still making its way to “the world”.
Police again this school year are advising parents to think before posting.
“Parents should always be careful when posting pictures, especially of their children. You should always check the settings, limiting who can access them.
When it comes to school photos, you don’t want to give out any information that could help identify your child or their school,” said Sgt. Scott Theede of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department. “Even something as simple as a mascot can help a predator get information about your child. If they know your child is an “Eagle” and know the city you live in, a simple computer search can direct them to your child’s school.
Parents should always remember, less is better!”
What should parents avoid posting online?
Law enforcement experts advise keeping the details to a minimum.
Do not share:
- school name
- Teacher’s name and grade
- Identifying features (height, weight, etc.)
- Excessively personal information (think items related to passwords or answers to security questions, etc.)
We know every first day is a big day, but with the craziness of the world and easy access, maybe just show off photos on your phone when you see friends and family in person.
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