(CMR) As parents, we are often excited to talk about our children. Social media has provided a new platform for us to boast about our children. But are we putting our children at risk? According to Parents magazine, Certain social media hashtags can make your children vulnerable to predators.
Hashtags are user-generated labels attached to social media messages and photos chosen based on specific themes or categories. Parent's magazine writer Nicole Harris explained that social media sites allow people to search for whatever hashtags they want. For example, someone remodeling their house might browse #homedecor on Instagram and stumble across your living room photo.
Proper use of hashtags leads to increased engagement, a curated brand image, and more followers that share your interests, Harris stated. However, this can be a downfall for parents assuming your social media profile is accessible to anyone with an account. Having a public profile does not allow you to control who comes across your content.
Harris explained that anyone who searches #interiordesign could find living room photos, whether a 25-year-old receptionist from New York or a retired 70-year-old engineer from London. The same goes for pictures of your children and family.
Pedophiles can access photos of your children by also searching for child-related hashtags. These predators can also download the images to their phones and share them with friends. If you add your location to the posts, predators can also stalk your children, jeopardizing their safety.
Many seem innocent on the surface, but they could attract the wrong type of audience to your page. Harris suggested parents avoid these hashtags:
Here are other tips Harris suggested for safely using hashtags and social media:
Adjust privacy settings so only your followers can view your photos.
Ask others not to post pictures of your child without your consent.
Don’t tag your location.
If your children have their own accounts, teach them proper social media safety.
As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our children safe; however, this responsibility has become more challenging with the internet and digital technologies.