Sharing your children’s vacation photos online: the risks of “sharing”

BERLIN: It’s understandable that parents want those at home to be able to see pictures of the kids splashing around in the pool or on the beach during summer vacation.

However, online safety experts say that posting photos of your kids in any state of undress on social media is absolutely forbidden, even if it’s only for friends and family.

Cybercrime experts claim that publicly shared photos of children – even those that may seem harmless – are uploaded, shared and used for sexual purposes.

And yet many parents are prone to what is called “sharing” or what the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children describes as when parents “share large amounts of information about their children in online in the form of photos, videos or blogs”.

Quickly posting a photo you’ve taken can, as has been documented countless times in previous cases, land the child’s image in the wrong hands.

Beyond the need to protect photos from abuse, children also have the right to decide what happens to their own image and parents must consider their privacy, online awareness campaign says of the German Ministry of the Interior.

When deciding to post photos, parents should involve their children. This means asking before photos are taken of them and shared on the internet.

If parents post pictures of their children on social media, they should only make them available to selected groups or individuals. If you post on social media, take the time to set your account or post to private to prevent access by people you don’t know.

It’s also best to avoid adding clear location information or naming your child in posts. By sharing a photo showing the name of the hotel you are staying at or a street sign, you could help criminals approach the child and pretend they are a relative.

Similarly, it is advisable to disable metadata so that no additional information is transmitted with the images. Some modern smartphones will automatically remove metadata from photos before sharing them. – dpa

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