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Photo Sharing Site Safety for Parents

April 21, 2010 at 3:28 PM

photo sharing websitesPhoto sharing websites like Flickr, PhotoBucket, and Shutterfly are becoming extremely popular. Signing up for a free account only takes a few minutes, and then you can upload all your family pictures, add captions, and share them with friends and relatives. Photo sharing sites are a great way to stay in touch with out-of-state relatives or catch up with friends you don’t see very often. And let’s face it – pictures of your own kid are too cute not to showcase. But many parents are using photo sharing sites much too freely, and it may be compromising the safety of their kids.
Before you start using any photo share website, check out the security settings they offer. Who can view the photos after you’ve posted them? Can anyone access them, or do viewers need a password or a personal invitation to see them? Parents sometimes don’t realize that the pictures they only intend for their friends or family to see could be open to anyone with an Internet connection. Use whatever safety controls are available, and keep your personal pictures private.

If you decide to get a photo sharing account, use captions sparingly (or not at all.) Since the Internet gives the illusion of privacy, parents usually include photos of their kids and divulge way too much information in the captions. They often include their children’s names and birthdays, or other identifying information like the name of their school, the general location of their home or neighborhood, their friends’ names, places where they often go to play, and their favorite things. Parents need to be aware that since total strangers could potentially read these captions, they shouldn’t write anything they wouldn’t want a total stranger to know.

Photo share technology allows your family to stay connected with friends and relatives, but remember that it also lets virtual strangers in on a lot of personal information they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Always use photo sharing sites with caution, especially when your kids are involved.

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans 


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Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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