Sharing photos online and on social media has become as natural as snapping the photos themselves. It’s what’s carried with that photo that could be putting your child at risk. Automatic geotagging of photos means that your child’s image carries details of their precise location across the web. Geotagging photos is standard on most devices, so what does it mean for your child’s safety?
Are you accidentally geotagging your child online
Instantly, photos can be transferred from our mobile device to any number of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, to name a few). If you share your life online with friends and family, you are quite likely to share the life and growth of your child.
Although it seems like ‘everyone is doing it’, it’s still important to know exactly what happens after you take a photo with your mobile device or camera, and how these photos can pinpoint and track your child from birth to beyond on the Internet. If you have a better understanding of how geotagging works, you can then make an informed decision about which photos you share (if any) of your child and how you share them.
How does geotagging photos pinpoint my child?
Geotagging is linked to EXIF data. EXIF data is any information that can be stored in an image file, other than the image itself. This can be the date, time and location it was taken or the make and model of the device used to take the shot. Nearly all phones contain GPS services, which makes geotagging photos easy and common. This becomes a safety issue when photos of children are uploaded online with a location attached. A person can target your child by identifying a regular location (including the time they are there) from geotagged photos. Geotagging can be turned off and no phone sets it up as default unless you have allowed it to at some point in time. Take the time to read the settings in your phone and consider deleting EXIF data on your photos before uploading them.
Is it safe to share photos online if I’ve disabled geotagging?
Even if you have disabled geotagging, sharing photos of your children online can still give away their age, location and name. Thoroughly check the privacy settings of your social media accounts and ensure they are restricted. When your family and friends can view your family photos, they can then share them publicly, which lends itself to the risk that your child’s photo could end up in the wrong hands. Telling people that you do not want your photos shared can minimise this happening.
What type of photos are safe to publish online?
Remember when you post a photo of your child online you are starting their online presence without their consent. Photos that seem cute now may be used against them. When they are older, they might resent you for making the image public. Anything that could have a negative effect on their social life, schooling, work or career in the future should be avoided. Consider security measures by not publishing photos that give away their school, day care or kindergarten name. As children get older, involve them in the sharing of their photos and ask their permission before sharing photos online.
Cybercrime and hacking incidents
Cybercrimes are a prevalent issue on the rise. Hacking, identity theft and the misuse of online content are becoming more and more common. Being proactive in maintaining the security settings on your phone and social media minimises the dangers and allows your child to create their own social presence, under your guidance, when they are old enough. It also sets a good example for your children to never be complacent and to always remember that what’s published online, stays online.
JourneyTree takes online security measures very seriously. To prevent other parents unwittingly geotagging photos of your child, JourneyTree offers a private, secure app for early learning centres to document, share and store your little one’s development. JourneyTree allows your centre to communicate more efficiently with parents and to protect your child today and in the future. It’s the leading childcare platform for functionality and security for early educators and parents, nationally. Find out more and enquire about JourneyTree for your ELC today.