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With the advent of the Internet and the social networking sites, life has become simpler and safer in so many ways. There have been instances where suicides have been prevented, crimes have been brought to the notice of the authorities and missing people have been found.
It is not just these cases, there are numerous other ways in which the internet and the social network has helped in saving the day. But in the hands of the wrong person, it can also cause devastating results.
If you are on a social networking site, where sharing of photos makes for a large part of the activities, you will see that many of your friends post pictures of their adorable children.
You might love sharing your baby's pictures with your friends and family through these sites too. But did you know that this seemingly harmless flaunting is opening your child to a world of dangers?
Keeping your child safe is surely the first and foremost priority as a parent. Sharing your child's photos online can make your child vulnerable to digital kidnapping, abuse, bullying and even child pornography.
Today, we shall talk about how the innocent photos that you share online can be used by the corrupt minded. We shall also take a look at what kind of pictures you mustn't share and what you can do to protect the pictures that you choose to share from falling into the wrong hands.
Ways in which your baby's photos can be misused
Digital Kidnapping Or Online Role Playing
Internet is often seen as an escape from the normal and real world. For many souls, the internet provides a respite from the humdrum lives that they lead. But, some people with disturbed minds go as far as creating a complete fake life, family and stories that help them receive emotional support or love that they miss in real life. there are others that do this just for the laughs.
These people can steal your baby's photos and share it with the people online claiming as their own. While your baby might not be harmed physically, the thought that someone half way over the world might be using your baby's pictures to prove that it is their baby is very unnerving to say the least.
You might post a perfectly innocent picture of your child online for your friends and family to see and adore. But this picture can fall into the people who Photoshop them to be consumed by pedophiles. If not Photoshopped, they can also be shared with content that is inappropriate and lead to sites that exhibit child pornography.
Don't we all love the chubby adorable babies that accompany advertisements? Now, what if these pictures were taken or rather stolen from the social networking sites without the consent of the parents? Terrifying thought but the truth is all the same.
There are unscrupulous people online that take pictures of children from the internet and use it for advertisements. They usually take the picture of a baby living in a different part of the world. They can use it in newspapers and even billboards in another country and the parents of the baby wouldn't even know.
Creating Fake Profiles
There are hundreds if not thousands of fake profiles in any given social networking site. They may be there with motives that may vary from profile to profile. These people steal pictures and post it as their profile picture and share it on their wall to give credence to the fake profile. Your child's picture might be set as the profile pic of some fake profile as we speak.
You might post a photo of your baby that you think is funny. But did you know that this picture can easily be turned into a meme to be shared online? Once it goes viral, there is no stopping it.
It can be shared multiple times by multiple users, making it impossible for you to completely remove it from the internet. Making a meme of a photo that you own without your permission is a big invasion of your privacy and rights.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Child's Photos From Being Misused?
Choose The Option To Make The Photos Private
If you regularly post your baby's pictures or even yours online, make sure that your profile is set to private. Doing this ensures that only a selected few people that include your friends and family can view your profile.
Keep An Eye On Who Can See Your Child’s Pictures
Certain sites have options that let you choose the group of people who can see your photo. A different set of audience can be set of each individual photo too. Make use of this facility to ensure that your baby's photos are for the eyes of your closest friends and family only.
Use The Watermark
Place a watermark on the photos that you choose to share online. This will help you to prove that the photo belongs to you in case they are stolen and misused. Removing a watermark also is hard work. So, it will discourage any theft of the pictures.
Never Share Details Like Location
When you share your child's photo, do not share your location. Also, turn off the location settings on your cell phone. Sharing location online will tell the wrong people where you are and can make you open to threats like kidnapping.
Use Photos Of Low Resolution
When you do post your child's photos online, make sure that they are of a low resolution version. Such a picture will be hard to enlarge or be printed to be used in advertisements.
Be Careful About The Pictures That You Do Post
The unscrupulous agents comb the social networks for the photos that they can use to their benefit. The photos that usually get picked are the ones where the baby is looking into the camera or the ones where the children are not fully clothed.
Do Not Post Pictures With Just Your Child
Try to post pictures that include you, your spouse or other trusted members of your family and friend circle. This will make it harder for online predators to use the picture.
Always Ask Permission Before Posting Group Photos
It might be a pic of your child's birthday party or it might be a photo clicked at a school function; if you want to post a photo which also has other children in it, make sure that you ask their parent's permission before you post it. They may not want pictures of their children to be posted somewhere without their knowledge.
What Kind Of Photos Should You Not Share?
While breastfeeding is a very good thing to do and its images can be very empowering, it can trigger the wrong reactions from the irrational minds and perverts. These photos often attract nasty comments and hate from a sect of the community. It can also fall into the hands of the perverted and can be used pornographically.
Naked Pictures Of Your Baby
It might seem innocent for you to post a picture of your baby in the nude. But this picture can be consumed by a pedophile as pornography.
Pictures That Accidently Expose Your Child’s Private Parts
Even when you post a picture of your child where he/she is fully clothed, make sure that private parts are not accidently exposed. Even those where the inner wear is visible, it should not be posted online, as these can easily be photoshopped into obscene ways.
Pictures That Announce Puberty
Puberty functions are performed with great pomp and joy in many parts of the country. Posting such pictures online may attract undue attention to your child from the wrong kind of people.
Photos Of The Kids Bathing Or Swimming
Never post pictures of your children taken while they are bathing. It doesn't matter if the picture is from a swimmer's meet or taken at a water theme park. Avoid sharing pictures of your kids in wet clothes. If necessary, cover them with a towel before you take the picture.
Pictures Taken In The Trial Room
When you go into the trial room with your children to see them try their new outfits, you may be tempted to click a few pictures. Never share them online.
Photos Of Your Sleeping Children
No doubt, sleeping children look adorable. But posting photos of your sleeping children online can put them in danger. These pictures can be Photoshopped to look compromising.
Potty Time Pictures
You may be proud that your baby is finally potty trained. But the photo that you took while your baby uses the potty should never be shared online. The picture can make its way into the hands of child pornographers. Also, these photos may cause your baby to face bullying and abuse when he/she grows up.