Why you need to think twice before posting your child’s back to school photos.

Every time late January or early February rolls around, our social media feeds are full of excited parents sharing photos of their kids' first day of school

It's a sweet way to commemorate a new school year and celebrate with loved ones.

However, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is urging parents and carers to be cautious about posting school photos online. 

Watch: What's in your child's school bag? Post continues after video. 

Video via Seqirus Australia. 

Although it's exciting to share happy snaps of kids in their school uniform on their first day, the ACCCE is concerned that children's personal information is being revealed online.

AFP Commander Helen Schneider said that while sharing photos and milestones online is important for families, she is asking parents and caregivers to be more cautious and ensure the images they're posting are not giving away identifying information. 

"We have seen instances of otherwise innocent images being used in child exploitation material or offenders using information from photos, such as school uniforms, to identify and groom children," Schneider said in a statement.   

"While these incidents are rare, they do happen, which is why we are urging families to be proactive with online safety and keep their information safe as the 2024 school year gets underway.

"We are urging parents and carers to do a quick privacy check on their social media platforms before they post their back-to-school photos to add another layer of security. Parents can also easily edit the logos of their children's uniforms to conceal where they attend school as an extra precaution."

Here's how parents and caregivers can ensure they're maintaining their child's privacy online: 

  • Review your privacy settings and make sure your social media accounts are secure and set to private or 'friends only'.
  • Check the privacy settings on the device you are using (for example, are you allowing apps to share your location without your knowledge?).
  • Seek consent and discuss how an image will be shared if you've taken a photo of someone else's child and vice versa.
  • Make sure the background of a photo doesn't give away your address or location. 
  • Don't post your location or 'check in'.
  • Keep your child's uniform logo hidden by blurring it out (Canva, FaceTune or Blur Photo Editor are apps all available on IOS or Android) or covering the emblem with an emoji.
  • Keep your child's personal information including full name and age private.

ThinkUKnow gave parents and carers a reference guide to refer to before posting anything online related to or of their child. 

  • What can I find out from this image? 
  • What is in the background of this image? 
  • Who will be able to see this image and do I trust them? 
  • Where could this image end up if I post it? 

Feature Image: Getty.

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