As your grandkids dressed up in their fresh, new uniforms last Monday and headed off to school, you, or maybe their parents, no doubt proudly snapped photos of the first day of school.
Perhaps, like many others, you shared some of the pictures on Facebook or other social media so friends could see the gorgeous new generation of your family.
But some experts, including the Children’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, say you should have asked the kids for permission or at least discussed the issue of online safety with them before sharing their photos.
“In the digital age, it can be confusing for parents who want to share images of their children with family and friends on social media, but also want to do what’s best for their child,” she says.
“Our hope is that parents think about these issues, take on board sound advice, and start to have conversations with their children as a stepping stone toward digital literacy.”
She told The Mercury that parents shouldn’t post pictures of their kids in their school uniforms because they could be identified and stalked by strangers, and not to post their full names or any photo that shows the school logo or the family home if the street number is visible.
The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner encourages people to use the hashtag #talkb4sharing when posting pix of kids. Announcing the campaign, the office questioned whether families had a “moral right” to share pictures of children.
“Sharing photos of their children starting school on social media is an important digital ritual for Australian families, but raises concerns for many parents around online safety and whether they have the moral right to share pictures of minors,” the announcement says.
Amanda Third from the Institute for Culture and Safety backs the #talkb4sharing campaign.
Third says that some topics families could discuss with children are: where the picture will be posted, who will see it and where it could go once it’s posted.
“What’s important is that families talk about digital issues like image sharing so that children can learn about what it means to be online, from an early age,” she says.