Social Media

Posting a First Day of School Photo to Social Media? Read This First, Experts Say

Even posting the name of your child's school, teacher or grade level could be risky, according to the Better Business Bureau

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Many families have made it a back-to-school tradition to fill out chalkboard signs with their kids' personal information and then share them online, but some parents are opting out amid warnings from experts.

The Better Business Bureau released tips this week urging parents to be safe when sharing back-to-school pictures online with kids' full name, age, height and other details. Scammers or predators could use this information to commit identity theft or earn your child's trust. 

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Other potentially risky information includes the name of the child's school, teacher and even grade level. The Better Business Bureau Review urged parents to regularly check their social media accounts' privacy settings.

“This can all be information that can be used in a pretty bad way, in a number of ways whether it's someone trying to get your password or someone trying to target your child directly,” said Hank Schless, senior manager of security solutions for Lookout. “A lot of times, people use their kids' names as passwords or things about their family as passwords.”

Experts say this is a good time to check your privacy settings to get a better understanding of who can see your pictures. 

“I think everybody should just check in periodically. It's good online hygiene, the same way you are told to rotate your passwords every few months and do things like that,” Schless said. 

Consumer Reports says back to school is a good opportunity to instill healthy habits.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also warning parents to be careful with the information posted online. The organization has seen an uptick in chatter on the dark web. 

“We know these predators are trying to target our children, they are trying to prey on them and then oftentimes are gaining that trust with the child with information they find elsewhere and that could be from a parent's social media accounts,” said child advocate Callahan Walsh for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. There are resources available for parents who want to learn more about online safety here.

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