Thursday, February 5, 2015

Your child's Internet safety -- AT SCHOOL!

I have lots of Facebook friends from all over the world.  They often share photos of their children.  If they are comfortable with this and they have some privacy settings in place, I enjoy these photos.  I don't like to see posts about little Johnny that are public so anyone can see them, especially those stamped with a place.  I once saw one timestamped that was public from someone picking her child up at school with location.  This is a bad idea for a couple reasons.  First, it lets anyone (including a predator who may happen to surf in on her page) know where her child attends school, what time his school lets out, as well as alerting people she is not at home.

I discovered that a number of teachers have PUBLIC groups where people can see photos (and often names and usually locations of their students)  By searching Facebook for a few of these, I found out the names (first and last) of dozens of children of all ages across the United States.  This information could easily get in the wrong hands.

I can understand if a teacher wants to facilitate a group to communicate with parents, but it should be so no one can see it.  In Facebook settings this is called "secret".  Yes, it might be fun seeing your child's face pop up on your newsfeed, but in my opinion, it's not worth the risk.

Please be aware of what your child's teachers are posting of your child social media and voice any concerns you have about this topic with the people who are to keep them safe.  Let's not let those trusted adults give out any information that might put children at risk.

I wish this were one isolated incident, but it's not.  Ask the kindergarten teacher in New York, the middle school teacher in Ohio, the 2nd grade teacher in Florida.

When I was in school, there were two murders of children within a year's time of former classmates of mine.  This was before the Internet.  Both of these classmates of mine were about 12 years old.

Parents, I would encourage you to talk to your child's teachers and principals about their policy on what can be posted on social media by teachers.

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