Online Photo Sharing Poses a Bigger Risk Than You Know

Online Photo Sharing Poses a Bigger Risk Than You Know

Last year was the year of the selfie. Somehow, the idea of taking your own picture blew up on social media. It was talked about 92 million times on Twitter alone. And that’s key here isn’t it? Taking photos and social media. Because now, every time you take a photo of yourself, you’ve got to document it on social media.

And it’s not like it’s a new concept or anything. It has existed long before there were cameras in all the painted self-portraits we see. And here’s Sir Paul McCartney in the 60s at the peak of his popularity, taking a selfie,

So if this practice really is that old, why has it become riskier now? Well, Sir Paul McCartney’s camera over there probably didn’t come with an instant share button. But your kids have smartphones that do.

Smartphone Photo Tagging

Often when you post a photo online through your smartphone, your location is posted along with it. Which of course is a security concern. Because your child posts photos from their home, school, work all the time. And if this information were to find its way to a stalker, it would make it very easy for them to get to your child.

Decoded Science has a few tips on how you can switch your settings so that your photos are not geo-tagged. These tips should help you keep your kids safe.

Facebook, Instagram, Vanity

The biggest thrill of taking photos—at least for teenagers—is posting them and getting responses. A series of likes and comments that offer an ego boost. Apparently, 70% activity on anyone’s Facebook feed is photos. And well, Instagram is nothing if not photo sharing, fueling fire to vanity. But we must mention here that these platforms have policies that claim ownership to anything you post. So these platforms become the owners of your child’s photos, not you. A mother’s story that was posted here earlier highlights the trouble with this arrangement. When third parties can claim ownership of your photos, they can end up nearly anywhere.

A Bigger Audience

Your child’s photos always have a bigger audience than you anticipate. In the blog that the mother wrote for us, she also mentioned how her daughter has over a 1000 Instagram followers, entirely strangers. And let’s be honest, most kids are sloppy with their privacy settings. Sometimes intentionally even so that their photos get more likes.

And do you know why that is dangerous? When your kid’s photos has a large audience, you never know who is acquiring them, and you don’t know who is doing what with them. For all you know, the photos are being used for digital kidnapping.

A Digital Footprint Remains

Here’s another little tidbit that you should know about your photo sharing habits. Anytime a selfie is posted onto the internet, they are saved into little caches files, so they are available in serves around the world. When you delete your photo, it would still remain somewhere on the internet in one form or the other. Which is problematic because your kid might have shared something inappropriate that you would want taken down. But the damage would already be done.

Minimizing Risk with Parental Monitoring App

The best way to watch over what photos your kids are taking, where they are being posted, and who they are being shared with is through a parental monitoring app. Once you install it on their phones, those photos will be available for you to see. That way, you can make sure

  • The shared photos are appropriate
  • Your child isn’t oversharing
  • Your child isn’t sharing photos with strangers
  • Your child isn’t posting on untrusted websites

Careful monitoring is the best way to minimize photo sharing risk. Online safety matters!


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