What Are the Dangers of Children's Pictures on Facebook?

By Naomi Bolton

Posting photos of your children on Facebook might do more harm than good.
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Although Facebook offers various privacy settings that can be tweaked, there is no way to guarantee that your photos will not be seen by people you didn't intend to share with. While the risk of sexual predators stalking children after seeing their Facebook photos is small, it cannot be completely discounted. Posting photos of your children also sets a bad example to them about privacy and opens them up to other dangers, such as identity theft.

Exposure to Sexual Predators

Posting photos of your children on Facebook could bring them to the attention of sexual predators, even if you set the privacy settings so that only friends and family are able to see the photos. Well-meaning relatives can republish the photos, with less stringent privacy settings. This practice can be dangerous if there are easily recognizable landmarks or information that can pinpoint the location of the child in the photo. Many Facebook games and apps encourage you to increase the size of your friend list, but doing so can expose your personal information to unwanted strangers. This information, in conjunction with status updates revealing your whereabouts and photos of your children, can make it all too easy for someone to stalk your family.

Sets a Bad Example

Young children should be taught from an early age about the dangers of revealing too much information to strangers. With smartphones and other electronic devices making it easy to post photos online, it is important that children understand the dangers of uploading the wrong kind of pictures. If you upload lots of photos of your children to Facebook, they may draw the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with sharing images online. For example, many parents post photos of their children in the bath or in their swimwear. Unless children are taught boundaries about sharing personal photos such as these, it can have a negative effect on them later in life.

Identity Theft

After you post photos of your children online on sites such as Facebook, you no longer have any control over what the images are used for. Even with stringent privacy settings these photos can be viewed, downloaded, modified and uploaded elsewhere by other people if they are determined enough. Photos of your child could be used for advertising, as many unscrupulous website owners use photos they find on the Internet to promote their sites. Someone could even use photos of your child to create a fake profile on a teen site with the intention of getting close to other teens.

Open Children To Bullying & Intimidation

While posting embarrassing photos of your children on Facebook might seem like harmless fun, it can expose them to bullying and intimidation. If someone distributes these photos to online forums and websites as a joke it can cause a lot of emotional trauma for your child. In some severe cases, teens have committed suicide after threats and bullying online.