Be Careful What You Post…You Never Know Who’s Watching

Sep 11, 2013

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Picture this: A mother is giving birth. Proud relatives in the room breathlessly tweet updates to all of their followers. “Almost there…” “Just a little bit longer…” “It’s a boy!” Cameras flash. And just like that, baby’s made its social media debut. His photo is on the internet before he can even take his first breath.

And it’s not just proud parents you have to worry about. According to a recent survey, a newborn’s other family members uploaded photos of them 22% of the time, and family friends 16% of the time. That’s a lot of photos floating around out there before the child can have a say in it, let alone say anything at all.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask. Who cares if my baby photos are online? Well, people can glean a lot of information about you from those photos. They can find out your name, what hospital you were born in, your birthday, your parent’s names, the names of several close relatives…. And all of these pieces of information can be used to steal your identity.

This is the situation that two-thirds of British babies born this year face. Their tiny, wrinkled faces are all over social media before they’re even an hour old. Now, there’s nothing wrong with sharing pictures of your newborn with family and trusted friends. The problem comes when total strangers get drawn into the mix. If you don’t have the right privacy settings on whatever social network you post on, you risk letting the photos of your children go out to anyone who has an account on that network, and from there to who knows where.

Instead of posting these pictures for all the world to see, consider sending an email to family and close friends instead. You can still post photos of your baby, but there’s no need to put too much identifying information. Save the juicy details for the email, and make it clear that there’s no need to share with strangers. When your child has a birthday, don’t post about it to all of your friends, and include their exact age. As your child grows up, don’t post about what school they go to. Don’t post your address. Give out that information on a need-to-know basis.

Your children will have plenty of opportunities to post their own personal information when they’ve grown up. Once they’re old enough to have their own social media accounts, make sure that they know the basic guidelines of what is safe to post. If you’re still worried, ease your mind with Net Nanny Social. It will monitor several popular social networks and alert you if anything alarming is posted.

I work for Net Nanny and all my opinions are my own.