Today I accidentally stumbled onto someone’s personal website and saw names, other personal information, and some lovely family photos that I’m pretty sure weren’t meant to be accessible to the public.
Seriously, folks, it’s been said many times before, but it bears repeating: Do not post pictures of children on the Internet! It’s far too easy for someone to copy the pictures and reuse them for their own purposes.
All it takes is Select > Right Click > “Save Image As … “ (please tell me you already knew that) and that picture of your precious child or grandchild could be saved on some pedophile’s computer, ready to be altered, touched up, pasted into another photo, or simply shared “as is” with his friends. There are a number of simple ways to snoop around on a website and see things the owner thinks are private. (Yes, I’ve done it on occasion, and if I can do it, almost anyone can.) More than one family photo of a beloved child has ended up being distributed on child porn sites. And you know the Internet; once something is out there, it’s out there virtually forever (no pun intended).
Personal blogs and websites, Flickr, Shutterfly, Facebook, Google and Bing image searches, etc., etc. There are so many photos out there already, odds are nobody’s going to pick your child’s picture from among those thousands of others. But do you really want to take that chance?
If you want to share photos, email them. Don’t post them. If a child appears in a picture with adults, blur or obscure the child’s face. The next person who lands on your website might not be as well-intentioned as I am.
Wave me off as a paranoid old granny if you want, but I haven’t always been old and I’ve been around computers since Radio Shack released its “Trash-80” word processor in the late ’70s. Anyway, consider my words food for thought.
Sept. 10, 2013: The threat to your children has grown with the advent of sophisticated facial recognition technology. Check out Slate’s “We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online .”