This subject is such a heated topic these days that we are considering doing a series of articles on this subject just because we believe that any information that may enlighten our readers about this topic is beneficial to them and society as a whole. In this article we won’t get into the 21’st century social phenomenon that is social media, nor will we get into the power it holds over society from a marketing industry standpoint or even just simply how it affects how we interact as humans since the inception of social media. There is enough subject matter to write about for years to come. In this particular article we will focus on children, parents and social media and immediate short term impact posting pictures on social media can have.
We have all seen the over-protective parents, always worried about everything from what their kids eat to who they play with but online privacy is something many parents haven’t given much serious thought to, either because they don’t understand the dangers or because they feel the pressure or excitement to exist on social media. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t post pictures of your children on social media.
Losing Control of your images
Once you post a photo online, you lose control over it. Have you ever read the Facebook terms and conditions or those of other social media sites? Well, hidden somewhere in the long winding document is a clause that states that, you give up consent, copyrights and ownership of any media you share on the platform. What this means is that, sites like FB can use the images you have put on their platform in any way they deem fit and are not obligated to seek your consent first. Even if you delete your pictures from your timeline on your profile they do not disappear from the internet they will stay in the worldwide network forever, stored on their servers.
You may be sharing your child’s location without knowing
GPS-enabled phones and location tracking, integrated into photos from your camera or smartphone may offer up sensitive information like your child’s school address, your family’s home address, and other places you frequent like recreational places or shopping centers malls. It’s shockingly easy to obtain GPS coordinates from a photo and in the wrong hands the consequences can be regrettable.
Disturbing Trends to look out for :
A new trend on social media, baby-role playing involves users posting a photo of a baby or child they find online and pretending the photo is of their child. This has especially become popular on Instagram, but it crops up on other social media sites as well. Some of these users are creating entire fictional families as they pretend to be the parent of a child or children who aren’t really theirs. They post about things the baby is doing or how cute they are, and then their followers play along by commenting on the photos. There are even Instagram accounts that will post a photo of a child with his or her made-up information, pretending the child is available for adoption. Do a search for hashtags like #babyrp, #kidrp, #openrp, or #adoptionrp and you will see thousands of these posts. And while there is no actual physical danger to your child if someone uses one of your photos for role-playing, it’s still disturbing to think someone might be digitally kidnapping your child.
If you’ve spent any time on social media, you know there are a lot of profiles and accounts that are not real. These fake profiles are used for a number of different purposes, but it’s most often to scam other people. Those who create them often using stolen images because they are believable and give credence to their profiles. Which means your real photos could be used to make another profile seem real even though it is not. This issue is common enough that reporting an imposter account shows up in Facebook’s frequently asked questions. And unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do since all profiles and cover photos on Facebook are public.
Post a funny picture of one of your children, and he or she might become an Internet sensation. It happens all the time, but even if you think it’s funny what harm can come of it at that moment, the viral consequences are no laughing matter. And once it’s out there, it’s pretty hard to delete something that has been shared by multiple users on multiple sites. There are so many cases of a child being bullied and made fun of because of a viral picture of them. Some cases have even led to suicide because of the aftermath of such pictures.
Would you want your child’s picture used to promote a product without your permission? Unfortunately, some advertisers will take photos they find on the Internet and use them in social media ad campaigns in another part of the world. It happens constantly on social media and 99.9% of victims never know. Fortunately for the other 0.01% someone spotted the ad and told them about it. But how many pictures are being used for ads that the people pictured never find out about? For all you know, your child could be on an ad somewhere right now.
Corporate data mining and targeted advertising
The things you post online have valuable information for data collectors and advertisers. They collect data about you to show targeted advertising to you as their potential customer. As a person who posts photos of a child, you might be interested in kids toys or clothes – and presto ! – you see dozens of related ads on your screen.
Furthermore, any time you take your child’s images and post pictures online it leaves his/her digital footprints. Especially with the use of facial recognition on social networking sites like Facebook that will collect information about your kid and form their identity in the worldwide web years before children decide to sign up for a network.
Something to think about
Many parents love to share pictures of their kids online so that family and friends can see how they are growing up. But unfortunately grandmas and your best friends aren’t the only people on the Internet. There are some scary people out there who want to use those cute snapshots of your children for their own purposes. In this article we just touched on the immediate consequential facts about posting pictures about your kids on social media. We haven’t even addressed the long term social and psychological consequences of this. And those might even be more serious in the overall greater picture…