Protecting Our Children’s Online Presence

I never used to think twice whenever I posted a photo of the children up online. After all, who am I but one insignificant individual among the millions of other users online. Surely no one but the people who matter would even take notice of my pictures…

And then a friend of mine had pictures of her children taken off her website and posted on someone else’s website without her permission. That was probably the first wake up call for me. Since then there have been a series of events that have made me even more aware about just who is looking at my children’s pictures.  Suddenly, I wasn’t so comfortable about having their photos online. I went into all my online accounts and changed my privacy settings so only my friends and family could view these photos.

I thought I was safe but it appears that completely erasing your internet footprint is not quite as straight forward as I thought. Just today, I received an email on my flickr account from someone I have never met before living in a part of the world I have never even been to before and I was greatly disturbed.  This was the message:

Hello, well I call *name has been removed* and I’m 13 and I live in Portugal. I have watched the flickr of all daughters & sons of you and think they’re perfect and super perfect. I use photos of your children, no more abuse and also am not pedophile. I was wondering if you could send Hotmail from you to us talk, would be very grateful and thank you very much now. That God will bless your family.

So now my policy is: no more pictures of the children online.

If you’ve been posting pictures of your children online, you may want to take a moment to review your privacy settings.

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