Sharing photos via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media has become part of our daily lives.  Just about everyone has a cell phone or tablet; it’s so easy to capture your kid’s “cute moment” on your iphone, click post, and share it with friends and relatives worldwide.

Technology is great, but it comes with potentially serious consequences.  Sharing that “cute moment” can be the beginning of your worst nightmare.  That simple click instantly shares that photo and more to just about anyone with internet access.  You never know who will view those photos and what they will do with them.  Unfortunately we live in a world where there are “bad” people who troll the internet for opportunities to feed their twisted minds.

Does this mean we should never post photos of our kids online?  Of course not, with a bit of common sense, courtesy, and a few easy precautions we can try to ensure that photos we do share are seen only by those we choose to share them with and keep them from falling into the wrong hands.  Here are a few do’s and don’ts you may want to consider before sharing your next photos.

Don’t post your children’s photos for “public” viewing.

Do check your privacy settings on the sites you share on.  Here is how the settings work on Facebook, check your other social media and review their policies.

What audiences can I choose from when I share?

The audience selector lets you choose a specific audience. Your options include:

Public: When you share something with Public that means anyone including people off of Facebook can see it.

Friends of Friends: This audience includes all of your friends and any friends that they have.

Friends (+ friends of anyone tagged): This option lets you post stuff to your friends on Facebook. If anyone else is tagged in a post, then the audience expands to also include the tagged person and their friends.

Only Me: This option allows you to post stuff to your Timeline that is visible only to you. Posts with the audience of Only Me will appear in your News Feed but not your friends’ feeds. If you tag someone in an Only Me post, they will be able to see the post.

Custom: When you choose Custom, you can selectively share something with specific people, or hide it from specific people. You can also share with specific friend lists if you’ve set them up, such as Family or Best Friends, or hide posts from your Co-Workers list. Custom also provides the option to share with groups or networks you belong to. 

Don’t post photos of your child that has their full name, school, location, address, and anything else that can identify and locate her.

Do disable the GPS identifier on your camera/phone that you use to take photos of your children.  

Do crop or edit the photos to remove names, place names, addresses, locations and anything that will show where the photos were taken.  This includes names of teams or activities your child participates in. 

Don’t post nude photos of your children.  Sure bath time photos of infants and toddlers shout out “look how cute”, but it’s not worth the risk that they may fall into the wrong hands.  Most social network sites have nudity policies so if a photo can be construed in anyway to be lewd, suggestive, or sexual don’t post it.  

Don’t post photos of your child in a group with other children with out parental consent.  Everyone has their own views on photo sharing and some parents may not want their child’s photos on the internet.

Do ask other kids’ parents for permission to post their child’s photo.  If they refuse, respect their views.  This includes posting photos of relatives and their children.  It’s just courtesy.  

Don’t post photos of your child that will embarrass her today and in the future.  

Do ask your child, if he is old enough, if it’s alright to post his photo.  Respect his wishes if he refuses.

Do use common sense when you post.  Look at the photo you want to post and ask yourself:  

1.  Is it appropriate?  How would I react if I saw a child’s similar photo?  If you would react negatively to a similar photo then it’s probably best to not post it.

2.  Would I be embarrassed if it were my picture?  If you will be embarrassed then chances are your child will be too.  

3.  Is there anything in the photo that will identify my child and his location?  If there are any identifiers then edit them out before you post. 

4.  Is it alright with the other children’s parents to post the photo with their child in it? 

I’m a proud Nana to 5 grandchildren.  I love to proudly share their photos with friends and family, but before I do that I always ask their parents if it’s alright.  It’s the courteous thing to do. 

Savvy Nana