Exploitation experts have warned parents to avoid posting pictures online of their children wearing school uniform, as it could leave them vulnerable to predators
Image: Getty Images)
When your child starts a new school year, it can be tempting to take a picture of them in their brand-new school uniform and upload it to social media to share with family and friends.
But exploitation experts in Australia have issued a strong warning to parents against posting pictures of their kids wearing their uniform as it could leave them vulnerable to predators.
The experts say that sharing details about your child’s name, school, or address on social media could make them a target for child grooming, as visual clues – such as images of school uniform or taking a photo with your home in the background – can make it easier for predators to track down key personal information that can be used to identify or find kids.
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Following the warning from exploitation experts, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has urged parents to make sure their privacy settings on social media are switched on, as this will ensure personal images are only viewed by people they know and trust.
And while the warning has been issued down under, the advice is important for parents in the UK and around the world.
AFP Commander for the AFP-led Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Hilda Sirec said: “The first day of school is a treasured milestone for parents and carers and a happy memory for many families.
“However, we do urge people who are sharing those images to make sure they’re using secure privacy settings on social media and only sharing them with people they know and trust.”
Commander Sirec noted that parents wouldn’t dream of giving a stranger a photo album of their children with their names and locations printed on it – and so the same caution should be taken when it comes to sharing material online.
She added: “We all need to remember that in the digital age, that is the equivalent of posting information and images of children online without the appropriate safeguards.
“The more information available about a child online, the easier it can be for offenders to build a profile to groom them, or even to groom parents in a bid to access information about their children.”
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of all parents talked to their children about online safety, and another 50% were unaware of what to do to keep their little ones safe on the internet.
What can I do to make sure my child is protected?
If you want to share a picture of your child online so your friends and family can see it, it’s best to ensure the background of your photo doesn’t give away your address or location. Never take a picture with the front of your house in the background, and don’t post your location when you upload the snap.
You should also avoid taking pictures of your child in their school uniform and only share the pictures with people you know you can trust.
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