5 Ways to Take Safer Selfies
Thirty years ago, we didn’t have smart phones or social media, and the word “selfie” didn’t even exist in our vocabulary. Flash forward to 2022, and about 92 million selfies are taken every day. Over 50% of millennials and 95% of young people have published at least one selfie and, on average, we spend an astonishing 54 hours per year taking them.
We’re not condemning the selfie, but we are challenging you to pause before you post! Do you (and your kids!) know how to take a “safe” selfie?
You probably have the basics covered – don’t take or send inappropriate selfies, including nudes. But there’s more to consider. Here’s five of our top tips for staying safe while sharing selfies.
5 Ways to Take Safer Selfies
1. Turn off location services.
This will prevent your child’s location from being recorded as part of the photo’s data, and potentially accessed by anyone they send the photo to.
If you need to keep location services turned on for tracking apps like Life360, take a screenshot of the photo, and send that instead of the original. A screenshot will not contain the same location and personal data that’s included in the native photo.
2. Consider the background.
Be mindful of what’s visible in the background of your selfies. Ensure things like house numbers, school names, or other information that could reveal your personal information are not included.
Also consider who else can be seen in the background of your photos. If you’re in a public setting or at a large event, be aware of other children who are visible in your photo but may not want their photo taken or shared. You can still take the photo – just think about moving to a more secluded spot, or cropping the photo to only show your intended subjects.
3. Blur school or team logos.
Protect your children’s privacy and identity by teaching them to crop out or blur the name or logos of their school or sports teams before posting photos of them in jerseys, uniforms, or other branded attire. The name of a school or sports team could give a predator valuable information about where they can find your child in real life, or can help them build a false sense of security online as part of the grooming process.
4. Pause before you post.
Did you know, consent applies to photos too? You should ask permission of anyone you take a selfie with – before you take the photo. Moreover, you need that person’s consent before you post the photo online.
5. Beware of predator-attracting hashtags.
Much of what we do on social media seems innocent because we know our own intentions. What makes it dangerous is the sinister intentions of others who can access what we post. Sexual predators are known to search common kid-related hashtags to find images and videos they can exploit. Beware of hashtags like #bathtime and #pottytraining, for example.
Navigating the digital world can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. That’s why we partnered with the Safe Surfin’ Foundation to release a free E-Book, C.R.A.M.: A Parent’s Study Guide to Managing Kids & Technology.
With C.R.A.M., you’ll learn practical tips to keep your kids safe online, how to talk to kids about predators by age group, how to recognize the signs of grooming, what to do if a predator contacts your child, and you’ll get device settings and safety tips for popular online games. Download your free copy today!