First day photos
New uniforms washed and ironed. New shoes are shined. Pencil cases are full of coloured pencils and pens. New lunch boxes, water bottles and bags are filled and our children are ready for learning. The start of the school year can be an exciting time for both parents and students. It’s time for families to settle back in to the term time routine and for all of our social media feeds to be full of back to school pics. However, before you fill your friends feed, can I ask you to take a moment first.
Taking photos of our children create great opportunities, not only to capture memories but also to teach them about consent and respect online. It gives us as parents the opportunity to have conversations about why we would want to share their photos and also to talk about where the photos will go and what the potential consequences are. By having these conversations often and early, we can help children and young people develop an awareness of some of the strengths and pitfalls of having their images online. As we model the courtesy of asking before we share their image online, we also need to model not sharing if our children say “no”. While this can be frustrating, hopefully, this will become part of the way our children approach online images so that they can be a little more careful about the way they share their own or their friends images online.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner recommends the following steps that you can take to reduce the possibility of exposure to harm.
1. Avoid sharing photos and videos that contain personal details, such as full names, personal contact information, or uniforms that identify a location. (If in a school of sporting team uniform, try to avoid the crest if possible)
2. Avoid adding comments to photos that identify locations, e.g. street address, the name of the school your child is attending, or even identifying features in front of your home.
3. Only share with people who you really know and trust. Rather than posting to all of your friends on social media, be selective and use the privacy settings on your social media platform. Also, be aware that if one of your friends likes your picture, it may also become visible to their friends. If you’re not comfortable with this, you might reconsider how you share your child’s image.
4. Always check with other parents before posting and sharing images which include their children.
5. Be mindful of metadata—most digital photos contain information about the time, date and GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken. Some social media platforms automatically hide or remove this data, so do your homework and know how much info you’re sharing.
For more helpful information about the digital environment and how to help your child have safe and enjoyable online experiences visit iParent.
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