Consumer Reports: Digital oversharing may put your child at risk

(CONSUMER REPORTS) - 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. You may be putting your child's privacy at risk. 

Artist and motivational speaker Rosie Jon never shies away from posting her artwork to social media.

"It's a really good tool for me to reach as many people as I can, whether they are able-bodied or not," Jon said.

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?'," Jon said.

Along with respecting your child's privacy, you should also be concerned about their digital identity. Child identity theft is a real threat, and Consumer Reports said our culture of digital oversharing is likely 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," Consumer Reports Privacy Editor Bree Fowler said. 

Consumer Reports said to 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, and 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.

Always use caution before sharing a picture of a child's actual location - anything that could reveal hints of your home or their school.

And 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," Fowler said. 

As for Rosie Jon, she will continue to share, but with purpose. 

"Every post has to be intentional," Jon said. "So just like my artwork, I make sure that each posting has a purpose and has a meaning."


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