During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been spending more time online than ever and sharing our lives more frequently on social media. Privacy is one thing we tend to forget when sharing our lives online, especially when it comes to our kids. In some cases, the personal information you post can end up in the wrong hands and end up on the dark web, or even used by cybercriminals for identity theft.
If you are becoming more aware of the risks out there, it’s only natural that you might be asking, what can I do to protect my kid’s privacy online? It can be extremely helpful to keep this advice in mind:
Get involved with their online activities
Sit down with your kids and go through the privacy settings on their social media accounts and ensure the highest setting is selected. Join them in playing games online so you can see what kinds of information they are sharing.
Respect their online privacy
When it comes to posting about your kids online, involve them in the process. While you do not legally have to ask for your kid’s consent, involving them will give you an opportunity to discuss their decisions around what to post or share online.
The type of content that you or your kids post online is important, so always think before you share. Avoid sharing content that contains personal information, such as full names, contact information, location and name of the school your kids attend. Share only with people you know and trust, and use privacy settings to post to only select groups of people if need be.
If you are posting anything that includes images of kids other than your own, check with their parents to ensure that they are okay with this.
If a photo or a video of your kid has been posted online without your permission, ask for it to be removed. If the person who has posted the photo or video refuses to remove it, you can report this to the website or social media platform it was posted on.
Remember, that any information or photos you post online of your kids will contribute to their digital reputation. The amount of personal information you have available online could also leave you and your kids open to identity theft.
Think of other ways to communicate
While social media is the easiest way to communicate, consider other options to share your photos or videos as this will give you more control. This includes emails and multimedia messaging service (MMS).
For more resources around staying safe online, find them at eSafety Commissioner.