5 Online Mistakes Moms Make That Put Their Kids in Danger

mom and daughter on laptop

Do you love sharing -- or, ahem, oversharing -- photos and updates about your kids online? Well, a new study by New York University argues this tendency isn't just potentially annoying, but could put your kids in danger, too.


By examining parents' posts on social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram -- and the possible repercussions -- researchers found that our online habits could compromise kids' safety and well-being in various ways.

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For instance: People trolling parents' profiles could deduce their kids' first and last names, birth dates, home addresses and other personal information ... which turns them into easy prey for abduction or identity fraud. Yikes!

Yet that doesn't mean parents shouldn't share anything about their kids online -- rather, they should avoid these common mistakes:

1. Blasting your child's birth day or birth date online. "Happy birthday, Olivia!" may seem innocent, enough, but it's a prime way for observers to collect a key piece of personal information that can lead to problems.

2. Using your child's name. It's tough to avoid, we know, but then again, including a name just makes your child a target. For instance, a child is much more likely to trust a stranger who calls him by name, paving the way toward a potential abduction. Plus, it's pretty easy from there to infer a child's last name, too, which could lead to more elaborate ruses concerning their identity.

3. Not making your pages private. A full 13 percent of the study's respondents had their online profiles set to public. On Instagram, posts are fully public by default. Many parents assume their pages are private, but upon looking at their settings realize they're not! And once anyone can view your child's info and photos, who knows what could happen? 

4. Having too many "friends." Even if your profile is private, do you honestly know all the people in your network? If you've been accepting "friendships" from people you barely know, you dilute your child's safety. 

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5. Not encrypting photos. Tools such as Cryptagram gives parents a "key" they can distribute to chosen viewers for pics. This added layer of protection lowers your child's exposure to surveillance from government agencies and data brokers who are trying to cobble together dossiers for spammers, malware distributors, and even college admissions offices.

How much info do you share about your kids online?


Image © shutterstock/gpointstudio

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