While social media is here to stay, parents can unknowingly use dangerous hashtags to expose their children to danger. These hashtags can be a red flag for the wrong type of audience.
Yes, your babies are cute while taking a bubble bath or running around without a diaper. The sight of little Tony or Tami is adorable; and in the social media world of today, you probably cannot resist taking a photo and sharing it on social media; along with the caption #bathtime or #diaperfree. However, it is critical for parents to pause and understand the possible effects of dangerous hashtags.
What do Dangerous Hashtags mean?
The Child Rescue Coalition which protects children from sexual abuse has listed a hundred hashtags that predators use. While certain hashtags many seem innocent to most parents, these are open invitations to online predators. (you can access the full list at the end of the post)
Some of these dangerous hashtags are #babykini, #babypeeing, #bathtime, #bathtimefun, #cantkeepclothesonhim, #diaperfree, #cleankids, #kidsbathtime, #napppyfree, #nakedbaby, #pottytrainingtime
So next time you want to share a photo of your innocent baby or child you want to think about whether or not what you are sharing can attract the wrong audience. While innocent to you, you do have to accept that there are people who do not have the best intentions and there are online predators.
Geo-tagging is also particularly important when it comes to dangerous behaviour online. If you share photos of yourself and tag your location, then it is easy for people who are tracking you online to know. When you combine this with the use of dangerous hashtags, you could very well be letting online predators know the whereabouts of your family.
Imagine sharing a photo of your baby in their swimsuit and you geo-tag and share your hotel or resort address. This is an example of giving away too much information with your digital footprint. [Read about protecting your child’s Digital Footprint]
So what can parents do? In the first instance, you want to share less, then you might want to turn off geo-tagging or turn your account to private. However, it is important to note that even if your account is private, someone who follows you might share your photo on their page.
Guilty of Oversharing?
Parents unknowingly leave crumbs leading to them and their families online. Imagine a scenario where you post a photo of a sporting event that you are attending to support your child. Perhaps you even share this on a regular basis; this lets people know where your child will be at certain times. It also inadvertently lets people know their school or playground.
In addition to the dangerous hashtags and geo-tagging, images with landmarks such as your child’s school or your home with a visible house address or landmark is not advisable. This information makes it very easy for anyone on the internet to track you. Additionally, sharing photos of your child with clothing that show their school or team logos can all provide clues that make children easy to track.
In summary, pause before you post. The next time you want to share photos of you being a supportive parent with hashtag #football #everysaturdaymorning #astroturf think about the fact that you are leaving an unnecessary digital trail.
You can get a full list of the Dangerous Hashtags
Do you know how digital-savvy you are or what your parenting style is? You can take a quiz here to find out.