Transitioning To Big School With JourneyTree

Off to school

Transitioning To Big School:
Your Questions Answered

The transition from kindergarten to school is a big one for children and their parents. Your head spins with the increase in hours that your child will now be in formal education. Your mind reels at the idea of someone so small playing in a yard full of children who are so big!
Here are 5 questions you will be thankful you knew the answer to before entering the world of primary school.

1. What does the National Curriculum say about what my child needs to know?

Schools use the National Curriculum as a guide for teaching and learning strategies, as well as student outcomes. You can see what is expected at the end of Foundation year here. Don’t be dismayed by the exhaustive list as most children are developmentally ready to learn these skills in their first year of schooling.

2. Should I be worried about my child being shy?

Speak to your child’s kindergarten teacher about their transition. If you and your child’s teacher think they are socially and emotionally ready for school then having a shy personality is absolutely OK. Teachers are equipped to deal with students who are feeling anxious about starting school. Don’t despair if your child isn’t the one running off without a goodbye to happily play with their new friends. Most children will get there in time.

3. I’m not as organised as I would have hoped. What do teachers expect on the first day?

It depends on the school as to what you need to bring on the first day. Some schools ask for books to be covered and pencils labelled, others don’t! Try not to pack any ‘extras’ for your child on the first day such as a bulky pencil case filled with stationery. Going above and beyond what the school has asked isn’t necessary and your child might end up wasting time digging around in their bag or pencil case to find things they need.

4. How healthy do lunchboxes need to be?

The summer holidays prior to school starting are a good time to take a look at your child’s daily routine and food consumption. Gradually get them used to eating at times during the day that are similar to when they would eat at school.
If you love creating lunches that are works of art then that’s great! However, don’t feel pressured for your child to have the ‘perfect lunchbox’ or you might find it comes home still full.
Ensure you pack a range of healthy and filling foods for your child that will sustain them through a busy day. Don’t forget to account for any allergy policies that may be present in the school.

5. How important is reading the set reader?

Your child will be proud as punch to bring home their first school reader. Not only will reading the reader each night reinforce the skills being learnt at school, it will also start a habit that will continue on throughout schooling and maybe into adulthood.
Reading with children helps them learn to enjoy the process of letter recognition and storytelling. Confident reading is an important life skill, so take the time to read the set text and set the habit early!
Most importantly, keep up great communication with your child’s daycare or early learning centre. Your educators will help you know exactly where your child is at academically, socially and emotionally before heading off to big school.

JourneyTree is a great way to establish comprehensive, regular communication between educators and families. Contact us today to learn more!


Ten tips for branding Child Care Centres. [guest post by Peter Sinner of Sin Design and Branding]

Branding

Branding ELCs

Branding your business is not just for the big guns. Every business needs to invest time and effort into making sure their brand is solid. Early Learning Centres and Child Care Services are no exception – in fact, the nature of what these services offer mean that branding is an absolutely essential way for them to exist in a very competitive space.

In my work with many companies, most business owners focus on their feature set – the things they have. Things are not what a brand is about. It’s much more about the way people perceive you and there are a few things you can do to easily improve the way your brand speaks.

1. Branding is personal.

What people think of you IS important! Always look your best. There is no part of your business that can afford to look shabby – unless it’s shabby-chic of course!

2. Make your customers feel part of a tribe.

People like to feel a sense of belonging. It makes them feel safe. Safety and loyalty go hand in hand. And a loyal person is more likely to forgive you when you get things wrong… and we all get things wrong occassionally.

3. Have the courage to stand out from the crowd.

Don’t rely on following your competitors example. Sameness is a death sentence for business growth.

4. Tell a story.

It isn’t about the features, it’s about the community, the experiences, the personalities. Features need to be present – a bit like a skeleton. It supports your claims, your services. But you wouldn’t want to hang out with a skeleton – the fleshy bits are the good bits!

5. Find your single point of difference and build on it.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everybody. Your brand is built on a few key parts that make it unique. It is the foundation of your strengths as a competitor. What do you do that the ELC down the road does not? How do you let your customers know this?

6. A centre’s branding is built on the culture of its staff.

Put effort into your internal communications, listen to your staff, make them feel appreciated. All your expensive marketing work can be completely undone by a sour face, a forgotten promise.

7. Get feedback.

Your customers can tell you what they want if you give them a safe place to do so. This means it may need to be confidential or unnamed feedback. Feedback is essential to improving communications and finding the small things that are giving people a bad impression.

8. Clean and clear.

Clean communication. Uncluttered signage. Obvious places to complete necessary tasks (signing in etc). A clear room. A neat reception desk. It’s vital to keep an impression that says ‘I’ve got this under control’. For ELC’s this means Trust. Trust is a massive investment to you from parents.

9. Move with the times.

Don’t let your competitors outshine you. Doing things the way they have always been done may work to a point, but you will eventually be left in the dark ages while your competitors are offering a better experience, service, facilities etc. Always keep your ear to the ground and be open to change. It demonstrates a brand that is forward thinking and on the same page as its customers.

10. Be consistent.

This is so important. It cements your brand strategy so that you achieve the impact you need within your industry. From signage, letterheads, email marketing, websites, centre posters – an endless list of opportunity where you can make sure your brand sings.

Guest Post by Peter Sinner, Sin Design and Branding Pty Ltd. For more information click here.


Tips for reading with your toddler at home [guest post by ABC Reading Eggs]

Reading with toddlers

Reading with children

The wonderful toddler age is all about play, exploration and growth. It’s an exciting time where parents get to watch major developmental milestones, like watching a child take their first steps or hearing them speak their first word.

Learning to read fluently is something that most children pick up after they start school. But many parents don’t realise that the learning to read process actually takes place much sooner than that.

Parents play a huge role in supporting their toddler’s journey to becoming a confident reader, and subsequently, a lifelong learner. And it all begins with setting aside some time each day to sit down and open up a book. Here are some tips for you to try at home:

1. Relax.

The best thing you can do for your child is turn reading into a fun experience. Show them how much fun it is and don’t worry about making mistakes. Learning to read should be something that your toddler is just itching to do all on their own one day, so find a comfortable spot, get into a cuddly position and get lost in the magic of reading!

2. Experiment.

So your toddler may not be interested in reading right before bedtime. Or maybe they’re tired of reading about the same thing over and over again. It’s important to establish a regular reading routine that makes everyone happy. This takes time and patience to get right. Try reading at different times in the day, in different places (e.g. outdoors, in the kitchen), and don’t forget to introduce your toddler to a wide range of books. Remember, it’s OK to not finish a book sometimes, and it’s OK to have a few off-days too.

3. Play.

Don’t always expect your toddler to sit still during reading time. Toddlers need to be moving, it’s part of what they do! If you have a particularly restless toddler, role-play scenes from books or recreate letters with craft sticks or playdough. Choose books with flaps or different textures, or ones that make funny sounds to turn reading time into a hands-on activity.

4. Come alive.

Did Sam say he liked green eggs and ham, or did he exclaim it with excitement? Your child may not understand every word you read aloud, but they sure will understand your tone and expressions. Don’t be afraid to read with expression or use your silly voice to bring the reading experience to life. Let loose with sound effects and invite your toddler to join in the fun!

5. Ask questions.

Encourage your toddler to make predictions and tell you what they think about the characters or pictures in a book. Ask questions before, during and after reading to keep your child thinking and engaged. Nothing is quite as delightfully suspenseful as guessing what might happen at the turn of each page.

6. Relate.

Search for titles that your toddler can’t resist by relating books to what they like. What have they been interested in lately? It may be trains, animals, magic, or the ocean. Try to choose books that can also relate to real-life experiences and feelings that your child can identify with, like starting a new pre-school or making friends.

7. Sing and rhyme.

Songs and rhymes help children understand that sounds in our language have meaning and follow certain patterns. Have fun reading and reciting songs and nursery rhymes together, and exaggerate the rhyming words to highlight the different sounds in each word. Read your favourites over and over again and pause to let your toddler finish the next part.

8. Repeat.

Toddlers like routine. Creating a reading routine is important for helping your toddler grow into a reader who reads for both meaning and pleasure. Read several times a day for around 15-20 minutes, depending on your child’s attention span. With a set routine in place, your child will know when it’s time to read and will likely develop their own positive reading habits when they move to independent reading.

ABC Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3-13. With fun online reading games, guided lessons, interactive animations, and fun rewards, ABC Reading Eggs makes learning to read a truly enjoyable experience for your child. See how it works with a special free trial of ABC Reading Eggs today. 

 


15 ideas for getting kids off the couch! [guest post by SmallSports]

Physical activity is good for kids!

Have you ever hung upside down in a tree to watch the clouds pass through leaves? Do you remember the pure joy of running full pelt down a hill with an umbrella to try and fly? Did you ride your bike as fast as you could to slide over a homemade ramp and skid to a grinding halt, because you were the lone ranger and your trusty steed was like the wind? I did. And as I look at my kids today, I’m wondering…. are they ‘city kids’? Do they know the feeling of grass under their backs or gravel under their feet?

The Early Years is well documented to be such an amazing time of growth and learning for children. Research shows that play based learning is the best approach – harnessing what children do naturally, and nurturing them within that framework towards critical learning goals. But hang around the pickup zone and you will hear many parents voice concerns that the kids just don’t get enough independent physical activity in the day. The restraints of small courtyards in ELC’s mean children are seldom allowed the freedom to run, roll, screech, spin and all the myriad of things kids do! They come home to small yards and plenty of screen time.

When do they get to ‘let loose’ without someone cautioning their every move?

Get children moving through sport and play. It is an inalienable right of Childhood!

Research supports that children exposed to physical activity and organised play based activities at an early age are better off cognitively, socially, physically and emotionally. It is not only a research item, it is a Right!

“Play is not only a child’s inalienable right – it also influences physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development. The right to play is protected in Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the right to sport, which is specifically contained in other international treaties. For these reasons and the many reasons below, UNICEF continues to champion this right as fundamental to the health and growth of children everywhere” UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/sports/index_23624.html)

This is why many early learning centres offer independent sports programs. Unpressured sporting activities for kids build confidence, increase fitness, helps bone density and does a lot for the brain. It gives children the opportunity to fail, try again, practice, get it wrong, succeed, be disappointed, be triumphant. Is this not the stuff of life?

What I absolutely LOVE to see when I teach sport to young children, is they learn what it feels like to run fast, to hit hard, to do their best and to be physically tired. The satisfaction of your body moving at your command and achieving its end goal is exhilarating. It is ‘freedom’ in my opinion.

Children need to learn the consequences of moving, the strength in their arms, the speed in their legs. They need to know the weight of their body as it crashes into something, or the consequence of falling. All of these things are essential in a child’s mental assessment of risk. It impacts their decision making throughout their lives. So parents, I urge you to encourage those times when children want to kick a ball, throw a stick, ride a bike. It’s good for them!

Here are 15  ideas to get children moving…. anywhere!

  1. create an impromptu obstacle course where children are crawling through dining room chairs, over cushions, hopping over brooms etc.
  2. pillow/cushion fights are great for core and arm strength and a lot of fun too!
  3. chase each others shadows on a beach
  4. handstands on the grass
  5. dance like no-one is watching
  6. make some homemade skittles and bowl them over with a large ball
  7. balloon tennis is a great game for indoors (hit the balloon to each other with your hand)
  8. blow bubbles and challenge your kids to pop them before they hit the ground
  9. juggle beanbags or soft balls
  10. skipping with a rope is an excellent sporting activity
  11. find a hill and let them roll down it
  12. take them to some rock pools and let them clamber over rocks
  13. encourage aim by playing ‘splat’ – throwing bean bags towards an object on the floor
  14. skim stones across a pool of water
  15. use pillows or cushions as stepping stones across imaginary river and children have to walk across them to get to the other side!

Guest Post by Bryn Jones, SmallSports Pty Ltd. Smallsports is an Early Childhood Physical Education Company. Teaching children aged as young as 2 the fundamental movement patterns vital to playing organised sport. For more information click here.


Five things you can do to get your child school-ready [Guest Post by Learning Connections]

How to prepare children for their first year of  school.

How to prepare children for their first year of school.

For your child to get the most from Prep the first thing they will need to be able to do is to sit in a chair, listen and follow directions. Teachers report that unless a child can do this they will find it difficult to learn. They also need to have settled behaviour, the ability to socialise in groups, to engage with drawing and books and to communicate with mature language skills.

These abilities are the precursors of the five domains of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) – physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills; and communication skills and general knowledge – which are used to measure early childhood development. It is estimated that almost 1/3 of children entering Prep are developmentally vulnerable on at least one of these domains – and it is these children who are most likely to have literacy and numeracy challenges throughout their primary school years. If you arrive at school already behind in the developmental domains you will have trouble catching up.

Even for otherwise bright children these seemingly simple tasks are difficult if they have developmental immaturities. Many children will develop coping strategies to respond to their vulnerabilities, but as children progress through the school system and the work gets harder their strategies stop working (usually around year three).
Here are 5 things you can do to help progress your child’s development and establish a strong foundation of motor, sensory-motor and language skills to have them ready for the classroom –

1. Swing, spin and roll

Swinging, spinning, rolling, tumbling, zig-zag running … all these movements stimulate and develop the vestibular system which is the unifying system in our brain, controlling our sense of movement and balance. The vestibular system influences nearly every other sensory system and is critical for language development and academic learning. It helps the brain co-ordinate information from all the sensory systems, in particular, information from our eyes and ears. A well-developed vestibular system enables concentration and a focus on learning.

2. Increase play

Value your child’s play! Games, drawing, puzzles, painting, story telling, dress-ups etc. … through all of these your child is learning and preparing for life. Play is a testing ground for language and reasoning skills – a laboratory for learning to connect to future challenges such as literacy, maths and science. As Dr. Rhonda Clements says … “Our complex society requires clear thinkers, playful attitudes, humour and creativity for complex problem-solving”. Play helps children grow and develop their creativity and begin a lifelong love of learning.

3. Decrease technology

Setting and enforcing limits on the amount and content of your child’s “screen-time” can enhance their sleep time, reduce their risk of obesity and improve both their grades at school and their cooperative behaviour. “Screen-time” means the total time your child spends watching TV, DVDs, iPads, smart phones, Facebook and video games. Whilst some programs have real merit it is important to understand that time spent by young children on technology is time not spent, and forever lost, to the play activities that develop readiness skills for successful learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one hour of screen time per day for primary school children (and no more than two hours per day for secondary school children). They also recommend no screens in children’s bedrooms.

4. Eat real food

Foods affect learning! Real food doesn’t come out of a packet. If your great-grandmother didn’t eat it – it probably isn’t real food! It’s important for your child (and you) to eat a balanced diet of whole foods. Eat food with the minimum of human intervention and processing. Try to eat seasonal foods. Eat more veges
than fruit (a ratio of 7:2 per day is recommended). Vegies have less sugar than fruit and are more nutritionally dense. Avoid additives. Avoid lunchbox packets like fruit juice and sweet yoghurts. Instant noodles are not real food. Occasional treats are not a problem.

5. Take the emotion out of meal-time

Sit at the dinner table as a family and have a conversation. It’s a great place to practice many of the basic skills needed for Prep, e.g., sitting still in a chair, listening and taking turns with conversation. Take the emotion out of mealtimes by planning a weekly menu and putting it on display so there are no surprises. Be clear on the rules: The adults decide what to eat, with input from the children (talking about the different tastes and textures is an important part of a child’s nutritional education). The children decide whether to eat and how much. If the child decides they don’t like something they can refuse it (after tasting it) but they do so knowing that they wont be getting a substitute meal. If, however, you are serving something a bit challenging, do also provide a simpler option on the plate alongside it.

These 5 strategies can go a long way towards preparing your child for Prep. If you need more help or would like more information please visit the Learning Connections website or call us on 07 3369 1011.


Narrative Therapy Techniques for Children | JourneyTree

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Narrative Therapy for Children – One Simple Technique for Parents

Narrative therapy is where your child understands their own story and sees problems and challenges as outside influences – not as part of who they are. Using Narrative Therapy techniques a counsellor enables problems in their story to become separate from them. The child’s challenges become something which can be managed rather than a part of who they are. Narrative Therapy for children helps them to identify, discuss and deal with issues which would otherwise become part of who they are.

The Narrative Therapy technique explained

The principle of narrative therapy is about dealing with issues through discussion and narrating one’s life then using this as a premise for feeling secure and comfortable with a life story.
In a practical sense, using the principles of narrative therapy for your young children could be to create a photobook of your child’s life story. Doing this not only initiates a conversation with your child about the past, present and future, it also makes them aware of their routine, the adults in their life and the people and objects that make them feel safe and secure.

What should you put in the photobook?

Include photos of your child’s daily activities and routine, as well as any learning and developmental milestones that will help them celebrate and realise their growth as an individual. Photos of family, day care and extra-curricular activities will help your child have a sense of belonging and structure. Building an annual photobook creates a whole childhood narrative.

How can you use the photobook?

The photobook can be used as part of a bedtime routine or any other time of day. Let your child lead the discussion as they look at the photos. If any negative feelings or anxieties arise, such as going to child care or kindergarten, then remind them of the positive aspects by pointing out photos of the fun activities and their achievements that have taken place there. Some childhood events are traumatic. Family separations for example can create anxieties and feelings of blame in your child. Use your photobook to open discussions around the separation and to illustrate that both parents still love the child. You can talk about when you were happy before and how you’re still enjoying happy times separately. You can also use it show that the “separation event” was an external occurrence, beyond your child’s control and in no way caused by the child.

What other narrative therapy techniques can be used?

Photobooks can be used in conjunction with drama, art, and play activities. If your child is anxious about going to day care, you might like to use a photo of them engaging in a fun activity and then use it as a base for roleplay, drawing or free play. While they are participating in the activity, you can play too! Keep it a light and fun activity and talk about ways they can deal with their anxiety while focusing on being encouraging and optimistic.
If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to store your child’s life story, JourneyTree provides the perfect platform for your Early Childhood Centre to communicate your child’s progress and provide images of them engaging in learning activities. It also has fully integrated photobook software and a cloud storage area for you to upload your own images. Find out more and contact JourneyTree today.


Separation Anxiety at Day Care—How You Can Help

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Separation Anxiety at Day Care—How to Help Your Child Integrate
There’s nothing more traumatic than leaving your anxious child at day care—for you, and for them. You’re not alone. While separation anxiety at day care is normal for a baby or toddler’s development, it’s hard on both the parent and the child. Don’t miss or delay the first step into independence, the first steps towards building resilience and the pride your child will feel achieving accomplishments independent of you, because of separation anxiety. Your childcare centre has met more than one child with separation anxiety before and you can assist them to help your child through this stage. Here’s how you can communicate with your day care to ensure you leave your child without too much separation anxiety.
Share all the information you can about anxieties
You might not want to appear to be ‘one of those parents’ who feels the need to discuss every tiny detail about your child. This is the time when you can. Provide extra details in your applications and communicate with your day care when things change. If your child is going through a particularly anxious period, be sure to let the centre know. If your child has a new nap preference or you’ve found another way to calm them down that’s working, let your childcare centre know. They will appreciate it. Remember you both have the same aims—to keep your child safe and happy.
Don’t jump to conclusions based on separation anxiety at drop-off
If your child is a little more clingy than usual, don’t jump to the conclusion that the day care must be doing something wrong and that’s why your child doesn’t want to go. Remember, your childcare providers are professionals and they are also very busy. Respect the centre’s rules and make an appointment to discuss the issue, instead of trying to talk at drop-off or pick-up time when the educators are still busy with other children at the centre.
Check their modes of communication first
Does your day care provide information via email, newsletters or SMS? Do they provide an app that keeps you updated on your child’s progress during the day? Often separation anxiety at day care abates soon after mum (or dad) leaves. Be sure to use the centre’s preferred communication method to monitor the extent of your child’s anxiety.
Be a part of your child’s day care experience
Keep in the loop and get involved in special events. This will help both you and your child integrate successfully into day care and minimise separation anxiety. It also means you can use any time you get to communicate with your day care provider to observe your child in the group and discuss any issues that arise.
If your child is still struggling to let go, ensure your communication lines stay open with your day care provider and be open to suggestions. Remember they have seen it all before! Don’t be dismayed if they say it takes time for some children to settle in.
JourneyTree offers a communication-based app to keep track of your child in a day care or early learning centre. Offering a private, secure app to communicate more efficiently with parents and store a child’s early childhood development, it’s a great choice for early educators and parents, nationally. Separation anxiety at day care is part of the ‘growing up’ process, but if that is no comfort at drop-off time, updated communication will be! Find out more and enquire about JourneyTree for your ELC today.


Grubby Face, Happy Space: Sensory Play

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Development of the sensory system is just as important as developing good coordination, fine motor skills, communication and other life skills. In fact, it could be said that good development through sensory play is integral to all of these, and without good development of our sensory systems, everything else is going to suffer! Sensory Play is one of the key developmental activities that you childcare centre should be providing, but why is it so vital?

 

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory processing refers to how the brain interprets input or messages received through our sensory system. For example, our ears receive sound, but our brain tells us where the sound is coming from, and what that sound might be. We can even tell if someone is talking, who that person might be without even looking at them! Amazing right!?

Our sensory system includes our sense of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing as well as vestibular and proprioception. These are our sense of balance and body position. All these senses must work well together to help us get through each day. For kids, these senses are important for learning new skills, and play a big part in being able to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

 

Sensory Development Through Play

So how do we ensure sensory development is on track? The answer is exposure! Kids are hands on learners, and develop new skills by doing. This means that we must provide them with plenty of opportunity to touch, taste, and smell lots of different things in order to help their sensory system mature. For parents, this can sometimes be a big ask. When children learn, primarily through play experiences, they love to explore with their whole bodies. This usually means big messes! But how happy are kids when they are allowed to get dirty! It’s even better when they can involve their friends or siblings. Kids seem to be most content when they have a playmate by their side and a whole lot of opportunities to get grubby. Social play is extremely important too!

 

Sensory Play is Messy!

If you’re a bit opposed to messes and cringe at the thought of mud, sand, glitter or paint (and more often than not, a combination of these) this is where you childcare centre, day care or kindy can be your best friend. Day care centres are usually well equipped to provide messy play experiences and are more than happy to deal with the aftermath! Furthermore you will find experienced staff and carers who know exactly what your little one needs and can provide activities that are suitable for your child’s age and are developmentally appropriate. The other wonderful thing about day care, is that your child has the opportunity to learn and play alongside kids their own age. This is essential for developing social skills and for giving your child the chance to copy or model other kids if they are not sure how to go about a task.

 

Sensory Development Activities at Home

If you are all for the mess, and love nothing more than getting your hands dirty too, then there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. When choosing messy play activities, remember that little ones will often explore with their mouths as well as their hands. Always go non-toxic materials and go for good quality.
  1. The best sensory play can be experienced in nature. The backyard can offer a range of textures, colours and smells, that kids just love to get in amongst.
  1. Be prepared for mess and for things not to go always as planned. You might find glue gets mixed in with paint, glitter ends up in hair, and the cat ends up with a mud facial. It’s best you embrace the experience, and appreciate your little one’s creativity. Know that you are doing the best thing for you and you child.

 

Sensory Play is a major part of early childhood development and your childcare centre should be encouraging mess. If your childcare centre is sending your child home clean every single day, talk to them about sensory activities that will make a big difference in your child’s development. At JourneyTree, we assist childcare centres to communicate children’s learning experiences at this most important stage in a child’s development. Ask your centre about the JourneyTree system now, it could make all the difference.


Geotagging Photos – Understand How Photos Pinpoint Your Child

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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.