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Your Children’s Privacy Online is Your Responsibility. So be Wise!

I found this interesting article from InTouch, hope you enjoy it
Your Children’s Privacy Online is Your Responsibility. So be Wise!
Your Children’s Privacy Online is Your Responsibility. So be Wise!
Parents might not be aware of how their children’s privacy is affected online. This covers newborn babies, infants and older children up till the age of maturity.

For newborn babies and infants, parents can commit severe mistakes that might affect their children’s lives forever. For older children, the children themselves can do this mistake simply for not being aware of how privacy can be abused by others. It is the role of parents to protect their children’s privacy by teaching them and guiding them.

Photo & Video Sharing

A very common action done nowadays is when parents post photos and videos of their children online. Parents do this simply because they love their children, they are proud of them, they love them and they want the world to know how much they love them.

This, however, can lead to negative outcomes when shared with the wrong people. Facebook, for example, allows Friends of Friends to see what parents originally intended to share with friends. Even if friends of parents were carefully selected, friends of friends can still see the photo or the video. This means that photos and videos are seen by people whose parents did not originally intend to have access.

On the other hand, parents tend to portrait the innocence of their children through photos and videos. This innocence, however, might be abused by pedophiles who actively search on social media channels for children who end up being victims.

Location Sharing

Another common action on social media platforms is when parents check in online to commonly visited places. Again, parents do it because they want the world to know their love for their children and they want to keep this memory for the future so that their children can see the different places they visited with their parents.

What applies to photo and video sharing also applies to Location sharing. Yet, this time, we are making our children an easy target for pedophiles who will be able to find out where to find children they want to target. Through simple search on a social media platform, pedophiles and kidnappers can easily locate frequently visited places by children and can easily transform an innocent child into a victim.

Phone Monitoring & Tracking

Many parents believe that monitoring and tracking mobile phones of their children is crucial for many reasons related to their children safety. While this is true from a theoretical perspective, it can turn out to be a real danger if implemented improperly. Many applications within application stores allow mobile monitoring and tracking. Parents might get enthusiastic and go with the application that provides the most features. This, in many cases, leads to unwanted outcomes simply because parents trusted an application that is not trustworthy.

Official store applications (Android and IOS) allow parents to track the phone location as well as the latest phone and SMS logs through a standard feature known as (Find My Device or Locate My Phone). This feature does not require installing any application on the phone and provides enough safety for parents to locate their children and track them when needed in a safe and secure manner.

Yet, some parents might ask for more capabilities by installing applications that allow them to track their children’s detailed phone activity over Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.
Regardless of whether such activities are considered ethical or not, parents must understand that such tracking and monitoring applications are threats by themselves since they get access to so much sensitive information about children and upload this data to servers that parents don’t control and don’t have access to.

What is more critical here is that this data might still exist on these servers even when removed from the phone itself and might be leaked at any time to the whole world to see.

Protect Your Children Wisely

Protecting your child is one of the most important responsibilities that a parent must perform. This, however, requires a lot of wise decisions nowadays especially with the proliferation of IT and technical capabilities.

The best way to protect your children is by doing it wisely through a simple set of guidelines:
  •  Be careful what you post online. Always keep in mind that any information you post can be abused. Avoid sharing naked or semi-naked photos for your child no matter how huge you feel the urge to do so. Remember that the way you see your child naked is very different from how bad people (such as pedophiles) see them.
  • Monitor your child’s phone using official store services only. Standard monitoring activities provided by Android and IOS will locate your device when you request it. They also give you enough information from the latest SMS and Phone Call logs to be able to track your child in unlikely events.
  • Don’t get greedy! Remember that your children are innocent and will do many mistakes as they grow. Our role as parents is to protect their privacy and make sure that any mistake done by our children will not haunt them forever.
Above all, remember that the best safety net for your children is to befriend them and encourage them to share their life experience with you. Technology is there to help you but will never ever be able to replace our passion, care, and love for our children.