Internet Safety Tips for Concerned Parents
Clearly, the figures suggest some threats to posting photos of children online, but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers some simple guidelines for worried parents to minimize risk.
• Be cautious about posting full names or personal information with the photos of children. For example, worried parents should not post photos of children with a visible address in the background and don’t post full names in the captions.
• Worried parents should talk to children and teens before allowing them to post photos online. Caution them about the legal ramifications of posting some photos, and remind them to follow the grandma rule: Ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if grandma saw the photo.
• Youths and worried parents should use private gallery settings in photo-sharing sites. Likewise, use private settings on social networking sites, restricting access to profiles and images only to trusted friends. The CCRC found no evidence of sexual solicitations based on photos of children or information they posted at social networking sites.
• Remember that most information and photos of children on the Internet are public and permanent.
• If any kind of solicitation occurs, save all emails and records of other communication and contact law enforcement.
• Finally, worried parents should remember others may “favorite" photos of children or email them to friends. While it may be disturbing, the stranger may simply find the photo funny or artistic and may have no negative motives.