We all post photos and updates of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews on social media, but are we inadvertently compromising our family's safety?
In this article, we interview, Aaron Duncan, an expert in the field of Crisis Management and highlight 6 steps you can start taking today to protect your family's privacy on social media.
Most of us take a lot of precautions when it comes to our family's safety. But what about your family's safety and privacy on social media?
Let me start by asking a rhetorical question... Do you know everyone personally on your "Friends" list? What about their friends and their friends, friends? We often post to our social media accounts without a second thought. We'll post birth announcements with the newborn’s full name and date of birth. Who can resist sharing first-day-of-school-photos, sports achievements, prom pics and, really, every other second of our children's lives. But, according to crisis management expert, Aaron Duncan, all of those social media posts might be compromising our entire family's safety.
“Posting a photo of your child on social media is like posting a billboard at the airport with their picture, name, their daily routine, the school they attend, and the sports & activities where they can be found,” Duncan says. This is especially dangerous if you post a photo with a location, time and date. Everyone on social media can see that your child takes a gymnastics class on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at XYZ Gymnastics on 123 Avenue.
Potential threats may include identity theft, stalking, harassment, cyber bullying and even kidnapping.
What we share about our family can also affect our children's future.
It's been said that 'the internet is forever', meaning anything that is posted online is permanently stored somewhere.
"That is why the best moments of my life don't make it to social media.” says Duncan.
So what can we do to protect our family's safety on our own social media accounts? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Set Up a Private Album
Your best option is to avoid using social media at all to update friends and family on your family's activities and your children's achievements.
Instead, create a private album on a cloud drive or photo sharing site. Share it with trusted friends and family ONLY .
2. Keep Your Family’s Future in Mind
If you are adamant about posting on social media, be aware that anything you post may be shared with someone you don't know at any point in time. “Don't post anything you wouldn't want a stranger to see,” says Duncan. Before you post a photo, video or content, imagine your family members future boss, spouse or friends seeing it. Then decide if it’s appropriate to post. Some things just aren't worth a "like."
3. Rethink Your Profile Pic
This one should be a "no-brainer." Just avoid using a photo of your children as your profile pic on all of your social media accounts.
Remember, even if your account is set on private, everyone online can still see your profile pic.
4. Avoid “Checking In”
Under NO circumstances should you check in or share your location, whether your children are with you or not.
Sharing your children's location tips people off to where they may frequently hang out. "Checking in" without them may clue predators into the fact that you're not with them.
Think about what's in the background of your photos, too. “Little things can give away clues about a location or identity,” says Duncan.
5. Set up Strict Privacy Controls
If you do decide to share a photo or personal information on social media, be sure to set up and use strict privacy controls. Limit who can see photos and avoid tagging friends and family.
But don't always rely on these controls. Duncan warns that not all privacy controls are 100% bulletproof and pictures can end up in the wrong hands.
6. Be Careful Who Your Friends Are
Give great thought to whom you share yourself with. Don't friend someone you don't know or trust. You don't have to completely delete all of your social media accounts to keep your family's privacy safe. Just be more aware of your social media habits. “It's extremely important to understand the risks of posting personal information on social media,” says Duncan. Choose your friends carefully. Choose what you share carefully.
After all, it is our responsibility to keep our family's privacy safe!
Crisis Management Expert
Text: (636) 236-5071