Social media outlets are an obvious way for parents to share news, updates, and photos of their children's achievements—but are they safe? It's true that occasionally some bad things can happen when you're sharing photos online, but the trick is to stay vigilant in how you're doing the sharing. Here are some steps to take to ensure that you're being as safe as you can when posting photos of your kids online.
Start With Privacy Settings
Most social media sites that allow photo sharing—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr, to name a few—offer custom privacy settings. For any albums that include photos of your children, set the privacy controls to custom, and allow only those few family members and friends whom you pick to view them.
According to Common Sense Media, an organization dedicated to providing information and education about kids and the media, there's really no need to be afraid to post photos of your kids to private photo albums shared by a small group.
Use a Watermark
Gone are the days of watermarking being used just by big-name companies. Today it makes sense to watermark any photos you feel particularly strongly about (like photos of your children) to add an increased level of protection.
It's easy to add a watermark these days; you just have to remember to do it. Apps like iWatermark and A+ Signature make it easy to watermark photos you take on your iPhone, or you could use any editing program, like Picasa or Photoshop, to create your own.
Lower Your Resolution
Make it difficult for people to use photos of your kids for their own advertising purposes (believe it or not, this happens) by lowering the resolution of the photos you're posting online. This makes it harder to print and enlarge the pictures.
Turn off Location Services When Posting From Your Phone
If you'll be uploading photos of your kids using your smartphone, services like Instagram and Facebook are required by law to ask if you'd like them to use your current location, or "geo-tag." In all cases when you're uploading pictures of your kid, select "no" on this option, so people won't be able to tell the location where the picture was uploaded.
Avoid Posting Photos With Telling Landmarks
If location is your true concern, don't upload photos of your child with things in the background that indicate where the photo was taken.
Be mindful of other children who may be in photos with yours. Just because you enjoy posting photos of your child to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts doesn't mean the parents whose child is on a playdate with yours will enjoy it, too. If you do plan to share photos of your kid on social media sites, post photos of your kid only, or photos of you with your children, unless you and the other parents have discussed the subject.