Protecting the Kids’ Privacy on Social Media

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This beautiful picture is a typical example of what not to post on social media (Image from parenting.com)

Protecting the Kids’ Privacy on Social Media

Social media has a bright, shiny side and we all enjoy posting images of our cute children and the things we do. There is another side to digital sharing though – a darkness, that endangers our children, directly and indirectly. The internet is the place where people with evil intent can seek out and destroy innocence, happiness and safety.

What is considered innocent sharing can be turned into its opposite if we are not careful with what we post. There has been a recent trend with images appearing across social media where a child is depicted holding up a chalk- or white-board, which reads some sort of message (be it a positive sharing initiative or a ‘punishment’ from their parents or educators). The threat this presents is that you have published a photo of a child holding up a message board, and a person with only minimal digital savvy can have that Photoshopped to say anything he (or she) wants it to, and then publish it how he chooses on any platform whatsoever.

 Never ever post…

 Shaming pictures

Pictures that show children being publicly shamed online under the guise of ‘discipline’. It may seem innocent at the time, but what it actually does is create the potential for emotional harm to the child, while putting them, at their most vulnerable, on public display for predators.

 On the potty

Compromising images of children should never be published online. This includes bath time and changing time.

Use this rule of thumb:

The childrens’ dignity must be protected, so if you would not like a certain type of picture of yourself on the internet, don’t post a similar image of a child.

 Group pictures

Posting pictures of kids at school requires parents’ permission, and even one parent saying ‘no’ means you may not publish it.

 Individual photos

One cannot control how photos of children are used once they have been published. It puts the kids at risk.

 Private details

Names, addresses, biographical details are just some examples of what should never be shared online.

 Unsafe activities

It goes without saying, that anything deemed unsafe, even in jest or pretend, should never be shared online.

 But feel free to share…

The happy times in your school should, by all means, be shared on your social media pages. Sweet quotations and animated pictures serve better as testaments to how wonderful your school is. Create pretty memes, or share updates on what the children are learning that day through generic and colourful images. If you are particularly proud of one piece of artwork, share away. Just as long as its young Picasso does not feature in the image.

It’s okay to have fun with digital media and marketing your school, but remember to be safe. When in doubt, do not post.

Remember, anything you post on the internet will never go away!

Author: Mari Sciarappa
BA Communication Science (Majors: Journalism and English)
BA Psychology (Counselling)
B.Hon Psychological Counselling (in progress)

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