Everyone likes to share pictures of themselves online. Who doesn’t want to receive endless likes and comments about their latest photos? There’s a real danger lurking behind social media sites and other places where people post pictures without thinking twice about it. The risk is that the person looking at the photos on the other end isn’t a friend or a family member. You or your child may not have an idea who the person on the other end of the screen is who’s looking at your pictures.
Make sure to never give out any personal information in the pictures
Take a good look at the pictures that your child is sharing. Do any of the pictures show their street address? Are there any identifiable signs in the picture that could lead a person to where you live? If so, you need to make sure that the picture is deleted immediately. You aren’t afraid of your neighbors knowing where you live; it’s the strangers who lurk online. Nothing is stopping strangers from looking at the pictures and trying to determine where you live. It is a real threat, and it’s something that you can’t possibly take too tightly. Actively monitoring your child’s cell phone may be one viable solution.
Never accept photo requests from strangers
Adults often lurk in the shadows online to find children who they can manipulate. Your child may have known someone online for weeks or even months, but they might know who they are. The person on the other end could potentially be an adult posing as a child. Tell your child never to take pictures of themselves or their surroundings for strangers they meet online. The photos will seem innocent at first, but they will eventually become that of a sexual nature.
Anyone and everyone can see the pictures they put online
Children have no concept of how big the world is. A picture posted in a small town can be seen all over the world. People scour social media to find pictures and save them. Your child must realize that any picture they put online is there forever. Putting the wrong picture or video online very well could haunt them for the rest of their lives. It’s impossible to remove a picture once it has been downloaded onto others’ phones and computers. Worse yet, people can then share that picture and put it all over the internet. Pictures have a way of taking on a life of their own in the age of social media, and your child must realize that once something is uploaded, it’s out of their control.
Good intentions are often met with ill will
It’s important that you get across that it doesn’t matter what your child’s intentions are when it comes to posting pictures online. A fun-filled day at the water park with the family in swimsuits seems innocent enough, but to the wrong person, it’s akin to pornography. It’s a shame that people must be so vigilant, but it’s a sad reality in the world we live in. A picture is like a helium balloon that’s been set free; you can’t ever get it back. The concept of how harmful it is to put the wrong picture online is hard for adults to grasp, so don’t be shocked if your child seems not to be able to wrap their minds around it.