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How to Protect Your Children While Posting on Social Media | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Posting on social media is a great way of communicating and engaging with friends and family. However, the fact that your friends and social media connections can see your posts means that bad actors with malicious intent may also have access to your life.

For this reason, you’d need to be aware of what you post especially when it comes to your child or any other minor in your life. You can safeguard your child when creating social media posts in these 8 ways.

1. Use Cloud Storage Rather Than Social Media Posts

Children do cute things in the early stages of life and capturing these moments is one of the best experiences of being a parent. Sharing the captured moments on social media is a good thing but without moderation, it may become a problem. Oversharing your child’s photos and videos is called sharenting.

Sharenting exposes children to privacy and security risks—that’s in addition to creating an online identity for them without their consent. You can store your most treasured moments easily on many platforms without providing a gateway for the wrong person to stumble upon your kid’s images or videos.

If you just want to post images and videos so that you have an online copy, use a secure cloud storage platform instead.

2. Censor Images of Your Kids if You Must Post Them

This approach might be overkill but beneficial in the long term especially when we consider the issue of consent. You’d be protecting your child from having an unintentional online presence.

You can censor images by blurring out your child’s face or overlaying the images with an emoji or any other sticker. Most native and third-party photo editing apps will let you censor images or hide sensitive info in a few simple steps. For example, you can hide sensitive info in images on Android before sharing them.

Censoring images will give you the benefit of sharing the moments you’ve captured with family and friends without giving potential predators a way of identifying the faces of your children.

Person using Instagram on iPhone

Posting anything on social media means the general public can find it in one way or another. To avoid exposing your child in this manner, you should use privacy settings on Facebook and other platforms before posting their photos or videos.

For example, you can restrict your social media posts or updates to be visible to your connections only. Also, you can restrict sharing of your posts by friends if this feature is available on the platform you’re using. This will reduce the risk of your child’s image landing in the wrong hands.

4. Remove Metadata and Geotagging Information From Posts

Images that you take on your phone may save metadata which details where and when you took your photos. An online predator can easily put one and two together using metadata and track down your child.

Some social media sites might expose this kind of information and others have the option of turning metadata off alongside geotagging. However, it would be a good idea to always delete metadata from your images before you post them on any social media platform to be sure.

5. Avoid Sharing Personal Information With Online Friends

Masked girl reading a book

Personal information that can be used to identify or locate your children includes their full names, the school they attend, and their date of birth. If you decide to use their names in your posts, you can throw off any predator by using generic terms like sweetheart, princess, buddy, sunshine, etc. to refer to your child.

The more public the platform, the more careful you should be about sharing details about your children.

6. Cull Your Friend List and Ignore Connection Requests From Strangers

Do a thorough audit of your friend list and remove any strangers you find. For even more security, you should also purge people you may have met once or twice but don’t know much about them.

While at it, it would be wise to avoid new connection requests from total strangers. These individuals may be people looking to connect genuinely but they might as well be online predators—you can never tell these two groups of people apart. Ignore or reject their requests. Stick to friends and family.

7. Discuss Online Safety With Friends and Family

Family of 3 looking at a computer

With children in the picture, have a conversation with friends and family about the potential risks of posting kids online. Discourage them from sharing your photos or videos, particularly those with your children in them. After all, there’s no point making your albums private to friends and family if those people then go and reshare that content on their own feeds.

Most people will understand these concerns and heed your call to protect your children’s privacy.

8. Never Post Naked Pictures of Your Kid

While you may want to share a photo from bath-time, it’s best not to post images or videos where your child is naked. This content can be misused by online predators.

In addition, these images can also be a source of embarrassment or bullying for your kid when they grow up.

Protect Your Child From Online Predators

Despite being a great way to connect with people from within and outside your circle, there’s always a chance of attracting the wrong kind of personalities on social media. Protecting yourself from bad people could be easy as an adult but you need to note that your children could be easy targets if you post too much about them.

The best way to keep them safe is by not posting their images and any personally-identifying information on social media at all. If you have to post them, avoid sharenting.

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National Cyber Security