Real life | The dangers of posting images of your child online

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The news that photographs of a number of Cork teenage girls were being used, without permission, on a pornography website has  stirred the issue of posting images of children online again.

At teenage or young adult age, it is they that make the decision to put their own photographs online. And with everyone around the world doing it, they naturally feel confident and secure in doing so.

We are all aware that social media and internet giants regularly change their privacy settings. We question if our information and content is truly safe, but we do it anyway.

However, it is stories like the teenage girls in Cork that once again raise the issue. If their images can be used so disgustingly and without consent, how many more are unknowingly being used?

So how dangerous is posting images of your child online?

Despite what you may believe, your metadata and copyright are not protected when posting images on social media sites. They want you to use their site as the preferred tool for storing images and that is why they ask you to tag the location and description for each image. This tactic affects your own copyright claim, making it easier for such sites to use your images for their own purposes.

Make it difficult for people to use photos of your children by lowering the resolution of the images. This makes it harder for people to print or enlarge the image for their own purpose.

While you may have stringent privacy settings, it is shocking how many people do not. A sharing or like by one of your friends may be exposing your child to others, with little or no control of where this image may end up.

When you are out and about and uploading images of your child, turn off the location services on your accounts. Unfortunately, the world is full of dangerous people waiting to take advantage of people and opportunistic situations.

Be vigilant and take the time to read up on your privacy settings regularly. You would protect your child in a park, so you need to be as careful when putting their identity online.