Today’s world is not as innocent as it was ten or twenty years ago. Social media sites such as personal blogs, Facebook and Instagram have given rise to crimes that were impossible to commit in the past. The endemic popularity of mobile phones has made sexting and the transmission of nude or semi-nude pictures a serious problem for teens and even preteens. Following are some things that parents can do to protect their children from the pain and discomfort of having their photos fall into the wrong hands.
Teaching Children to Value Their Privacy
The most important thing parents can teach their children about the internet is that there is no such thing as internet privacy. While the measures described below will help prevent personal photos from being misused, they will not offer complete protection. Preteens and teens should know that it is impossible to keep online photos fully private. Furthermore, they should understand that once photos have been posted online, it is nearly impossible to delete them. Therefore, they need to learn about photoprotection.
There is no harm in posting specific photos online if reasonable safety guidelines are followed. However, a young person should realize the severe consequences of posting certain types of photos online. For instance, an underage teenage boy who posts a semi-nude or nude picture of his underage girlfriend can have his name listed on the sex offender’s register for life.
Many employers and even educational institutions are now asking prospective employees to provide access to their personal Facebook accounts. Photos of drunken behavior, crazy stunts, or illegal activities will, at best, result in losing a good job opportunity or admission to a good college or university. In the worst-case scenario, a young person could find him or herself in court, where the prosecution will use the photos as evidence of a crime.
This same point applies to sending pictures to friends via mobile phone. While such photos are not freely available online, they can be misused if a person falls out with a friend or lover and this person decides to get revenge. There have also been instances when mobile phones have been lost or stolen, and their photos have been published online by an unscrupulous third party.
Teaching Children How to Use Social Media Settings to Protect Their Photo Protection
While Facebook was made an open source of information, it has various privacy options that prevent near or total strangers from seeing one’s profile and pictures. Parents who do not regularly use and are not familiar with Facebook can help their children learn how to properly adjust these settings so that only close friends and family members can see photos. Facebook has a helpful video tutorial that provides excellent information along these lines and a privacy page with more good information.
Instagram also has a “Control Your Privacy” setting that allows users to choose who can and cannot see personal photos; other famous photo-sharing sites have similar settings that give a young person control over their accounts for Photo Protection.
However, parents and young people should note that the default settings on nearly every social media account type allow for public viewing of all pictures. Who should also note that trusted friends can and often copy and re-upload images that They may not have meant for public viewing? Once again, young people should realize that photos posted online are never fully protected.
Protecting a Personal Blog
Personal blogs are often used to share the latest news and photos of people, events, and places. While many photos posted on a blog are harmless, numerous young people use their blogs to post photos of crazy events, places, and antics. It is essential to teach everyone about Photo Protection on personal blogs.
A potential employer, law enforcement official, or anyone else who wants to find out more about any given person has to do an internet search for this person’s name. One’s blog will be the first thing to show, and with it, a large quantity of personal information and photos that most people would not feel comfortable sharing with a total stranger. Furthermore, Who can find any images on a blog using Google Images, making it even easier for a person to find photographs of any given individual with minimal time and effort?
Thankfully, there are two ways a young person can protect their blog. The first method is to make the blog private. Blogging accounts such as Blogger and WordPress permit a user to block search engines from searching the blog and posting results online. The second method is adding a password to the blog so that only those with the account password can get on the site. This method is more secure than simply keeping a blog private, although it is a hassle to manage an account password and give it to those who can be permitted to see the blog.
Protecting Video Files
It is easy to extract a photographic image from a video file. All a person has to do is download the video and then open it using Windows Live Movie Maker (available for free with Windows 7) or one of the many similar programs that Who can download from the internet.
While YouTube automatically makes video files available to the general public, the site does have privacy settings that enable a person to keep the video from appearing in search engine results. Using this setting can protect a young person from having less than positive images from the video being turned into photos that unscrupulous individuals spread far and wide.
Helping Children Define a Healthy “Comfort Level” and Maintain It
Facebook and other social media accounts stipulate that a young person must be at least 13 years of age to have an account. While many people ignore this rule, parents should demand that their youngsters adhere to it, as younger children do not have the maturity to manage social media sites and the inherent dangers of having a Facebook, Twitter, and similar account.
When a young person opens an account, parents will want to sit with them and explain the consequences and dangers of posting inappropriate images and videos on the internet. The child and parents should develop clear guidelines on what images should and should not be posted.
A good rule of thumb is to ask a child if they would be comfortable showing any given image to the local sheriff, school principal, or total stranger. Who should not post the photo online if the answer is no? It is also essential to make it clear that a child should never, under any circumstance, take nude or semi-nude photos of themselves or anyone else, much less share them via the internet or mobile phone.
Teenagers will, on occasion, need help with keeping the agreement mentioned above, so parents should keep tabs on what a youngster is doing online. Who can do this by keeping the family computer in a public home area? Parents should also have full access to a child’s social media accounts.
Explaining the Concept of Privacy to Friends
Unfortunately, not many young people support keeping their private photos private. Such young people may take and share photos of a teenager that the teenager is not comfortable with. If such an instance is bullying or online harassment, then parents should take immediate action. Young people guilty of cyberbullying can have their social media accounts shut down if a parent reports the offense to the social media administrator. If threats are made, these can be reported to local law enforcement officials.
At the same time, inappropriate photo sharing is not always done with malice. Many young people do not think twice about posting inappropriate or discomfiting photos online. In such an instance, a young person will need to talk with the friend involved and kindly ask this friend to take the image down. While this does not ensure that Who will never find the image again, it is the best possible means of damage control.
Parents should be very concerned about the photos a young person is posting online or sending via mobile phone. Many teenagers must understand that the internet is private and that the wrong images can affect one’s future educational and job opportunities. At the same time, parents cannot have complete control over what a young person does, as devices such as smartphones and iPhones have made it possible for a young person to get online at any time of the day or night and bypass traditional control techniques such as internet filtering software.
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Instead of attempting to control a young person’s online activities, parents should teach young people how to use the internet responsibly. There are numerous stories online of young people and even adults who have had their photos misused; have a young person read some of these accounts, go over the safety measures outlined above, and then draw up clear guidelines that will protect video and photo files that a young person does choose to post on the net.