The Unintentional Dangers of ‘First Day of School’ Photos

The Unintentional Dangers of ‘First Day of School’ Photos

Ellie Pearson

      Parents, caregivers, and relatives do not intentionally put their children in danger, but the simple click, flash, and post on the first day of school can be dangerous. Posting a photo with your child’s name, age, grade, teacher, sports or activity involvement can all lead to your child’s safety or privacy being compromised. Being proud of your little one and wanting to share with friends and family is appropriate, but it is important to realize some of the risks associated with posting your child’s information online. 

      The first concern with ‘first day of school’ posts is that identifying details like your house number, street name, your car and license plate number in the background and even the area where your child may get on the school bus are clues that predators can use against you. Every day, there are an estimated 500,000 child predators active online according to The Child Crime Prevention and Safety Center. If they know the school that your child attends, they can find out the school schedule and potentially even find transportation routes. 

      Other than just providing where your child may be located, oversharing information about a child gives predators the information they need to make a connection and build trust with them. They know about their age, appearance, favorite color, and extracurricular activities, giving them a lot to talk about with your child. Predators use this information to create conversation and gain trust. Even if they are not finding your child in person, they may be able to find them online and make that connection digitally, hooking them with facts about their favorite color and grade until they get comfortable enough to meet in person. 

      Your kids are awesome and deserve to be highlighted, so start the school year off strong and practice smart digital sharing from the first day!  If you choose to post a photo on your child’s ‘first day of school’, please think about the big picture. Ask yourself these three things: Am I showing where my child goes to school? Am I showing where my child and I live? Am I sharing information about individuals with my child (teachers, other students, etc)? Look again at what is in front of and behind your kids and think critically about what information is being shared, just as much as you check that their hair and clothes look good. Have a smart school year! 




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