Consumer Reports: Beware of oversharing on social media

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Oversharing on social media could put you and your kids at risk
Oversharing on social media could put you and your kids at risk.

PHILADELPHIA -- If you love sharing pictures of your child on social media, you're not alone. But there can be consequences beyond bombarding friends with cute photos.

By oversharing, you may be putting your child's privacy at risk.

Consumer Reports explains how you can safeguard your child's digital security while still having the freedom to share what's important to you.

Rosie Jon never shies away from posting her artwork to social media, but when it comes to her three young children, Rosie takes a different approach.

"I have an eight-year-old son who's old enough to understand his own privacy, so if it's a picture of him I always check with him and ask him 'Are you happy for mommy to share this?'," she said.

Along with respecting your child's privacy, you should also be be concerned about their digital identity. Child identity theft is a real threat and Consumer Reports says our culture of digital over sharing is likely at least partially to blame.

"Seemingly harmless information like your child's name, their age, what they look like, where they go to school, all of that information can be used to create a profile, that a hacker can use down the road for identity theft," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Privacy Editor.

Consumer Reports says follow these digital parenting tips:

First, tighten up the privacy settings on the sites you use. You can set your Facebook posts to go to just your "friends," rather than the entire public.

Next, limit your circle of friends even more by creating a list of "close friends."

Another option? A closed Facebook group, which requires you to approve everyone who requests access.

And always use caution before sharing a picture of a child's actual location - anything that could reveal hints of your home or their school. Also, be careful about sharing pictures of your kids in any state of undress.

"Even a very innocent photo of your kid naked in the bathtub, might kind of haunt them down the road since nothing on the internet truly goes away," said Fowler.

Another thing to think about, wait until you get home before posting any vacation photos. You don't want to reveal to any would-be burglars that you're away from home.


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