With school back in session, the safety of our children is our top priority. From all the school supplies they may need to going back to school IRL, our schedules burst at the seams with their needs.
However, one thing we probably haven’t considered is internet safety.
According to a report conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2020, one in six children were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Internet safety can be one of the ways we can protect our children from such danger. So, as schools resume, this is something everyone should take into consideration.
August is “back-to-school” month, and it’s when our social media feeds are flooded with proud parents showing off their bundles of joy more than usual. With social media being accessible as ever, there doesn’t seem to be much thought on what’s being published as much anymore. I mean, years ago, we had to connect our cameras to our desktop to upload a photo just to use it for our (very pixelated) “emo” Myspace profile picture. It was a mission, to say the least.
Now, I’m not going to lie: back-to-school posts are more enjoyable than the polarized posts I’ve seen as of recent; they give a sweet contrast to everything that is going around the world at the moment. However, is it me, or are parents (and even children) oversharing on the internet more than ever?
I come from the age where shows like “Mujer Casos de la Vida Real” and “Rosa de la Guadalupe” made my Latina mom freak out about anything, especially about what I posted on the internet. Even posting pictures of myself was forbidden because these photos could be used for “mal de ojo” and “brujeria.” Y’all, it gets wilder than that, but I’ll save that for another story.
But I can appreciate some aspects of this overprotective approach to the internet of the early 2000s. And, I think it’s time we bring some of that type of internet safety guidelines back to this era.
Don’t get me wrong, posting your children on the internet is not what’s worrisome; it’s the amount of information you post about them that is concerning. Also, it’s not only the information that parents are posting that is up for discussion. We can also include what children are posting on their own social media.
As of late, I’ve been seeing posts sharing their full names, as well as the name of their schools. Unfortunately, the internet is used by many, including by malicious people, and that’s where it gets scary.
So, how would feeds look if we took a page from our parent’s playbook from way back when?
Determine what’s sensitive information
Though staying off-the-grid would be ideal, we all know that’s not the route many take when it comes to social media. So, if you are someone who wants to share special moments with people, or you know someone who often shares with their followers, make sure you evaluate the information before posting. A good rule for internet safety is to post without exposing too much. For example, post a page of a notebook and make the caption about back to school. However, be careful to post uniforms, school names, and drop-off locations — you never know who is monitoring your account or if all your followers are trustworthy.
The accessibility of your page matters
As much as we’d like to think so, we can’t be sure how our followers use their social media. They can be sharing their social media accounts with other people, for all we know, which can be troubling. We must also be aware of the public pages we follow — remember, those pages are also linked to someone’s personal account, and most people don’t do the due diligence to vet it out. So, one of the best ways to avoid any uncomfortable situations is to create a social media account for only family and friends you truly know. You can share all the information you deem fit in that account, including the moments closest to your heart, such as the first day of school. But please make sure to make that account private all around!
There’s no such thing as too much monitoring!
The safety of your social media accounts is up to you. There’s no other way of putting it. You need to check your comments, messages, and even your friends’ likes to be sure that your page is safe. If your children have their own accounts, it is also your responsibility to make sure that theirs is squeaky clean.
This information is not meant to scare you but to allow you to put things into perspective. I promise you that it’s better to be overly cautious than not. Besides, protecting your children is always the right move.