Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP
Menlo Park
San Ramon

Parents may be posting too many pictures of their children online

Most parents love taking photos of their children -- and they naturally want to share them! However, the days when you had to corner willing friends and drag out a photo album to show off the kids are long gone. These days, many parents end up using social media to chronicle their children's lives.

In fact, the average child these days has been shown in 1,300 videos or photos on social media by the time they reach 13 years of age. Children who establish their own social media accounts are apt to have an even higher number. Kids between 11 and 16 years of age post about 26 times a day -- and often they include photos.

That's an astounding number -- and possibly a huge problem for the children someday in the future. It might also turn into a problem for the parents, especially if a divorced parent ends up in a custody dispute.

Photos of children can -- and have been -- be swiped by scam artists who want to play on the sympathies of others. Photos and the information that can be gleaned from them are also useful to manipulators who may want something out of your children. They can use what they see to create a false sense of connection and shared identify if they contact your children online through fake accounts. In addition, you may be accidentally revealing information someone could use to locate your children -- which destroys their safety.

Unless you choose carefully, photos of your children can also cause problems in a custody case. Photos of "shaming" as a part of discipline could backfire in court if the judge doesn't agree with your methods. Photos of your child playing naked in a tub, for example, could get you accused of exploiting them or not caring about their privacy and welfare.

While you probably won't stop posting every photo of your child online, you should take the time to think about what you post. Use close-ups to avoid giving away too much information about your private life when you show off your child's beautiful smile -- and teach your older children to exercise online caution with photos as well.

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