The author of a book on online dangers explained why parents don’t share photos of their kids back to school online.
Lena Deraly, a writer, psychotherapist and social media expert from Washington, D.C., has warned moms and dads of the potential dangers of posting too much about their kids online — noting that thieves can try to steal youngsters’ identities if they know too much.
She explained that all criminals need to take a person’s full name, address and date of birth – which can easily be obtained through things like birth announcements and birthday homages, as well as back-to-school photos.
Lena, a mom herself, said that while photos commemorating the first day of school are often “cool”, she definitely advises against it.
The author of a book on online dangers detailed why parents don’t share photos of their kids back to school online.
Lena Deraly, a writer and psychotherapist from Washington, DC, warned moms and dads of the potential dangers of posting too much about their children online.
She pointed out that thieves can steal youngsters’ identities if they know their full name, date of birth and address.
“When I see those pictures, I look beyond the kids and see the dangers behind them,” she recently told Insider.
Lina is so passionate about this that she recently released a book called The Facebook Narcissist, which describes “How to identify and protect yourself and your loved ones from narcissism on social media” across hundreds of pages.
The author explained that “the information we share online” makes children “an easy target for thieves.”
“All a thief needs to start identity theft is the child’s full name, date of birth and address,” she added.
“They can easily find the first two on social media profiles that include birthday announcements and other highlights.”
Lena noted that while most people don’t share their addresses on their social media profiles, criminals can sometimes narrow down where you live through clues in your photos.
“We could potentially give hints: show our PO Box or house number in a photo, show our kids’ school name, or even leave on geotags and location services that reveal where we are,” she explained.
“Even a picture of a particular school uniform can help people know where you live.”
The self-proclaimed social media expert explained that they can easily be obtained through things like birth announcements and birthday honors (stored image)
Lina, a mother herself, added that photos commemorating the first day of school can tell thieves, predators and sex offenders where your child will be.
In addition to thieves looking to steal your children’s identities, Lina added that posting pictures of your children online can attract “harassers” and “sex offenders”, who can use the “information you provide” to “take care of your child.”
Unfortunately, most sexual assaults involve a perpetrator that the victim knows. None of us want to think we have potential criminals in our social media followings, but the uncomfortable truth is that many of us do.
“When we share information like a child’s favorite color, dreams, and aspirations, you give predators tools to build a relationship with your child.”
As she recently told Star 999 Radio, “Sometimes, grooming begins with the photos that parents have shared with their children online. Identifying information can be really dangerous.
“Even something like a favorite color, you might not be aware of but there are predators that look at these things and use a sense of familiarity to comfort the kids. They will do their best to do so.
Lena added to Insider that while she understands that back-to-school photos can bring ‘joy’ to parents, she urged people to consider the ‘risks’.
I suggested narrowing down your followers to those you know personally and putting your accounts in a special place.
I suggested narrowing down your followers only to those you know personally and putting your accounts in a private place
Her other advice to parents included keeping the details “simple” and checking the “background” of the photos to make sure there were no hints about where you live.
She said, “There’s a huge difference between posting pictures of your kids in a closed family group of 20 members and your full Facebook following that includes thousands of people you barely know in real life.”
She also told Star 999, “You can safely post about your kids if you want to. Just be very careful about who you share information with.”
Her other advice to moms and dads included keeping the “minimal” details and checking the “background” of your photos to make sure there were no hints about where you live.
“Stick with your child’s first name, and don’t mention the names of their teachers or schools,” she wrote in her article for Insider.
Make sure your school, home address, and other identifying details are not visible.
Finally, I suggested that if a child is over four years old, you should ask for their permission before sharing a snapshot of them online.
“Ultimately, we need to take care of our children,” she concluded. This is about respecting their autonomy and right to privacy and letting them decide – when they are old enough – what kind of digital footprint they want.