A recent article by Amy Webb about posting children on-line (We post nothing about our daughter online) gives rise to a whole new set of issues for parents to be concerned about. But for most of us – the horse has already bolted and we have documented our children on-line almost from birth. But if you are concerned about what the future may bring in terms of data mining and face recognitions apps and who might potentially use that information and how, here are three simple ways to post your children’s lives on-line without compromising their privacy (too much).
1). Fool the face recognition software of the future:
Facial recognition software works best with a front on-full face image. Unfortunately getting most children to face the camera and smile is easier than giving them an ice-cream, so many of the images posted on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook are perfect fodder for face recognition. Try to post images that only show part of the face, and more of the moment:
2) Post their achievements:
Post the thing that they do rather than them.
Children create amazing things, from Meccano, Lego, mud, paper and glue, old tissue boxes and sticky tape. Posting their craft on-line has a two fold advantage. One, you are still able to share your child’s life, and two, you have a permanent record of their creativity – which means that when it comes time to clean out their artworks, you know you can cull with abandon as you will always have an on-line record of their achievements.
3) Post mindfully
Be mindful of what you are posting – will the image be embarrassing when they are older? It’s one thing to have your mother show your childhood snapshots to your new boyfriend or girlfriend when they visit for the first time – it’s almost a rite of passage – but it is quite another to have someone independently and anonymously investigate your life.
4) Bonus forth tip – Understand privacy settings:
Learn to lock down your social media accounts so you know who is looking at what you post. While it flies in the face of what social media is all about, just about all social media platforms give you privacy options so you can control who can see what you post. Keep in mind that once your data is on-line, it is virtually impossible to delete it. It’s a safe bet to assume that it ‘lives’ on at least two servers somewhere in the world.
Facebook Privacy Tools
Instagram Privacy Tools
Twitter Privacy Tools
If you are really paranoid and want to keep your life totally private, we recommend the Polaroid Instant Camera – no digital copy, no negatives for duplicating prints and only one small image!
How do you protect your children on-line?
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