Today Show Shares Why You Should Rethink Posting Photos Of Your Children On Social Media

Today Show Shares Why You Should Rethink Posting Photos Of Your Children On Social Media

For some adults, "digital kidnapping" seems unlikely to happen (if you don't know what this is, see one definition at the bottom).

As a result, children's pics are included in personal blogs, Facebook timelines, Instagram stories and more. The assumption that the smiling faces in the digital frames are for friends and family's eyes only and "anyone else" that might come across them likely won't have any ill motives.

This is interesting, and a bit confusing (and scary ... at least to me).

There's an old saying, "It is better to be safe than sorry."

"Regular" kidnapping is also unlikely to happen and yet we still teach our children how to be safe around strangers, don't we?

We don't think, "My son/daughter probably won't get tricked by a stranger that wants to hurt them, so why teach who trusted adults are, how to stay safe when home alone or what to do if someone approaches them or grabs them?"

No, we'd never think that which is why we engrain things in little minds like "yell 'no' and go," don't take things from strangers, never go anywhere with a stranger, under no circumstances should you get into a stranger's car or enter their home, etc. Many of us have carried these early lessons into our adult lives as well to ensure our own safety.

Question: Why do the vast number of strangers on social media — from around the world — seem so different and "harmless" to many adults? Is it the sense of security behind the computer or phone screen? Is it the sense of protection provided by our privacy settings?

Something about social media gives us peace of mind when it comes to our perception of strangers online.

Today, many of us, smart, mature grown-ups, share images with the touch of a screen that not long ago, would have considered very private. From the birth of a new baby and later their first birthday party to those infamous baby bathtub pics and that scary trip to the ER with the latest "crud," images are being cast to the World Wide Web that once only knew the pages of a family photo album.

To answer the above question, I speculate most of us haven't taken a step back and really considered how posting family photos online, which often relay personal information, may put ourselves, as well as our loved ones at risk.

The Today Show offers some alarming information about "digital kidnapping" as well as advice on how to protect yourself and your family if you are going to post images of your family and children online:

Posting pictures of your children on social could put them at risk of “digital kidnapping,” TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reports. There have been incidents of online predators stealing photos of children and claiming they were their own, posting the photos to porn sites, or even tracking down where a child goes to school. Here’s how to protect yourself and your family.

Hidden Location Feature in Some Photos

If you're like me, the info on hidden location features being in some photos is nerve-wracking, and the instructions on how to change those privacy settings go pretty fast in that video. So here they are in a handy, bulleted list:

  1. Go to "Settings" (gear-looking icon)

  2. Click "Privacy" (blue-white hand icon)

  3. Click "Location Services" (blue-white arrow icon likely at the top)

  4. Click "Camera" (grey camera icon)

  5. Choose "Never"

Also, remember ... never put your kids in your profile or cover photo. Those are always "public."

There you go. Here's to staying safe online one pic (or lack thereof) at a time!

*Digital kidnapping definition via Digital kidnapping is when a stranger steals a minor’s photo from the internet and posts the photo as if it’s their own. They then post these photos across their social media accounts and revel in the “likes” and comments they receive. There are even a set of social media hashtags that can accompany such pictures, indicating to viewers that the poster is role playing and creating a faux life outside their real word. These hashtags may include, #adoptionrp, #orphanrp, and #babyrp.