It happened to me over two and a half years ago, but I still think about it every time I log on.
Someone stole my son’s photo and treated my son as her own. It was one of the most shocking, terrifying, helpless moments of my life. Red was only 18 months old at the time, but as I told the reporter in the recent Digital Kidnapping story that started trending on Yahoo’s homepage, I flew into a “mother lion rage” and had no idea what to do. Since it wasn’t a technical crime, I didn’t contact any authorities, but went through all of Facebook’s (the “kidnappers” chosen social media channel) steps to takedown a photo. It was a little harder to do all of this a few years back, but still somewhat possible. Facebook didn’t actually do anything by the time two days had passed – I actually private messaged her from my Redhead Baby Mama FB fan page, and tried to start a dialogue.
It was difficult, as she was very young, spoke no English, and had no idea she was doing anything wrong. I was lucky. She took down the photos and we were able to carry on with no real damage done (as far as my nerves went, they were totally SHOT).
Parent’s Magazine went on to share the story, as well as the TODAY show and several other regional news outlets across the country. Bottom line? I’m glad people know about it. I’m happy that parents and families are learning to share safely and to be mindful of what they are putting online.
So how do we safely share our photos online? After all, I’m a blogger. I make a living (and a heck of a lot of fun) sharing my family on the web. Being pickier about what I put on the blog, watermarking my photos and using things like the free Kidslink app help me keep my safety in check. Although I do share on social media as well as the blog page, I make sure not to overshare. Personal information doesn’t make it out the front door, and not every photo I take makes it past my editing software. When I do use Kidslink, I have the ability to push to Facebook, but I can rest easy knowing only the people I know can see those pictures and family milestones. No stalkers allowed. Ever.
If you share your photos or other intimate information, it helps to double check all your privacy settings, and do it often. Social Media is ever changing, and with new platforms popping up all the time, you want to make sure you’re comfortable with the level of protection you have. Use free watermarking software, use reverse image searches, and above all else, only put on Facebook and Instagram what you wouldn’t mind sharing with everyone. After all, when you slap it on the internet, it’s there forever!
How do you share online? Have you checked your privacy settings or do you use something totally secure like Kidslink?