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We Need To Talk About ‘Digital Kidnapping’

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Nowadays, it’s more likely that a family will be spread across the world than ever before. That can make keeping in touch and maintaining that familial connection difficult.

digital kidnapping dangers of using social media to share your child special momentsImage via Pixabay

 

The obvious answer is to use social media to talk about what your family is up to. We might be more separated as a species in terms of physical space, but we’ve built digital links that still allow us to connect with people.

Over time, it has become natural. It’s your child’s first day of school, so you post a picture to Instagram or Facebook. You’re proud and you want to share the moment with the people you love. As expected, the ‘likes’ and comments begin to flood in, bonding everyone together in a moment of happiness. It’s sweet, it’s fun, it’s harmless… isn’t it?

Perhaps not. There are instances where using social media as a running commentary on the life of your child could be problematic. And not in a parental overshare kind of way, either. That’s annoying and potentially embarrassing for kids when they’ve grown up, but it’s nothing compared to the real risks. Especially when you consider digital kidnapping.

Posting Photos Online: Think Of The Possibilities

digital kidnapping Image via Pixabay

 

Photographs of children are routinely stolen online and shared elsewhere on the internet. The purposes for this vary, from more benign “troll” behavior to the more severe. It’s been referred to as digital kidnapping, and the more photos you share online, the higher your chance of falling victim to it.

If you think your photos are safe from this because your accounts are set to private, you might have a point. However, unless you personally know and verify every person you allow to friend you, then you can’t be sure. It’s easy to be duped by a fake account of someone purporting to know you, agreeing to their friends request and then suddenly they have access to all those photos. Vigilance is your only option, though some might suggest just refraining from posting photos is the preference.

Keeping Family Informed

So if you decide to clamp down on the photograph sharing, where does that leave you? Consigned to not being able to share photos of your kids and little bits of information about their achievements? It’s not going to be long until far-flung friends and family begin to feel left out.

There are still plenty of options outside of social media. You could use an app to send your photos as a real postcard or even print out special photos and send them yourself. Alternatively, if you want to stay in the digital realm, then you can create custom email groups and send out regular updates. That way, you know the pictures are only going to the people you intend them for.

It might seem paranoid, like you are turning your back on a simple solution by choosing to blacklist social media pictures. To an extent, you are; but think about your reason for doing so. There is possibly no better reason to restrict something than to do it for the sake of your children, so look at the alternatives until you find something that works.

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