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The Importance of Online Safety Protecting your family and your photographs

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When it comes to technology there is a beauty to it. Not only can we take a number of photos and post them online within minutes, but we can also easily communicate with friends and family through different social media platforms. During our time in this pandemic, we can all agree on how much more we have relied on technology. Posting photos online of our memories when travelling, or posting a photo of your child being homeschooled. By doing this, it has helped different family members be able to see the memories that you and your children have been creating. 

And even though it has been mentioned that there is a beauty of the online world, it also can bring concern to us all, with many worrying about online safety. Many parents use YouTube and Instagram as a way to communicate with the world and make their viewers feel like a part of their family. And that’s before mentioning Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter…and so on.

Yet trolling can happen; this is when someone intentionally sets out to upset another person online, via their social media. You don’t have to be Beyonce to receive rude and upsetting comments about your child. All you have to do is have a quick scan in the comments section on different social media platforms and you can see how cruel people can be when they are invisible.

And even putting trolling aside, social media, unfortunately, presents other undesirable opportunities for those wishing to cause harm to – or take advantage of – children.

No one wants to admit the negative side of social media, because it has brought us all globally closer together. But the negative side exists – and so, therefore, does a need to be able to share images and videos, especially of your children, in a safe environment. 

 

Online safety of child images

 

How does the public feel about being online?

When growing up, the rules of safety were very different than now. The main focus point was how to be safe outside and we all know what those rules were. Don’t talk to strangers, if you feel like you’re being followed then cross the road – and there were a lot more. But nowadays there is another layer to safety and that is how to be safe online. It’s not just children who need to be safe, we all need to be safe online no matter our age. 

And parents do have different opinions when it comes to being safe online, and what they can do and shouldn’t do. 

 

Who is responsible for online safety?

The Family Online Safety Institute researched the digital lives of today’s family, and they found that the approaches to online safety and who is believed to be responsible for it has changed over time. 

Today’s parents with children at school are mainly from the Millennial era, and most of these parents believe online safety is a shared responsibility with only 30% believing they are ‘most’ responsible. 

Most parents believe that they aren’t the only ones who need to make sure that their child is safe being online, but that schools, the government and media industries play a part in online safety as well.

Parents need to think about online safety when posting photos on their children on social media platforms, of course, but this is true for schools as well, because no one can ever truly know who is on the other side of the screen. For example, we can see one way that schools have taken on this responsibility is by blurring photos of children’s faces – a way to respect parents’ wishes and to increase safety online. 

 

Should parents be posting photos of their children online?

Many parents enjoy being able to post photos of their children on their social media, but there are also other parents who believe that doing this is not right. 

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this question of whether or not a parent should post photos of their children on Facebook or Instagram. Parents want to post photos of their children, as they love sharing their lives with friends and family. It is a way to interact with other people, and this has been especially true over the 2020/2021 pandemic. Many who were not so committed to ‘online living’ have now incorporated such habits into their lives through the necessity of doing so over the past year.

The proud parent with a child who has done something amazing, such as taking part in a race on sport’s day, will want to document it and share it for their family and friends to see. It is also a chance then to talk about it with others.

The parents who have decided not to do this also have a valid reason, and that’s because once an image is online, anyone can see the photos. For example, Instagram has, on average, one billion people using it per month. This creates many opportunities for abuse – such as digital kidnapping.

If you are not clear on what that is, it is when an online stranger steals photos that a parent has posted of their child and pretends that the child is theirs, and then uploads the photos under their name. There are many hashtags that go with these photos, such as #adoptionrp, to show viewers that this fake and just roleplaying.

Yet once these criminal acts happen, there is nothing a parent can do as the photo is already out of their grasp and even deleting the original photo will not resolve the problem. 

Many parents feel stuck in the middle, torn between believing they should have the right to share the memories of their children growing up, but yet still wanting to protect them.

The writer Sara Gaynes Levy, for example, stated that she decided not to post photos of her daughter, as her husband didn’t feel comfortable with it, yet after a while, she felt left out. A way around this, she found, was using emojis to cover their child’s face on photos. This is a common tactic, and many parents do this to protect their child.

Ultimately, the best solution is to find a place where any parent can feel safe to post photos of their children online and be the one in total control, to decide who can see these photos. 

 

Online safety videos

 

The importance of building safety features into websites and apps

We live in a digital world and everything we do has some link to technology, whether it involves working or enjoying our free time. This means it is very important that websites and apps have safety features, as the public is trusting them with protecting whatever they upload.

Most apps, such as Instagram, will have the option to make your profile private, allows you the control of who can follow you and who can see what you post. This helps when it comes to parents posting photos of their children, as some create a whole new account for their child and only allows their family to follow. 

This sounds perfect and safe, right? In the perfect world, the answer would be yes, in reality, even when changing your setting to private it doesn’t mean the data is protected. Each day social media becomes bigger and bigger and with every post a user uploads onto a platform, whether it is Facebook or TikTok, for example, they collect data.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse investigated data breaches and found that since 2005 there have been 9,044 public breaches, with 10 billion records being exposed.

Keep in mind that this is what they have found, but it is likely to only be the tip of the iceberg.

So how can websites and apps make sure that data breaches won’t happen? 

Thirty-four experts were asked a simple question: what are the biggest mistakes companies make when securing data? One consultant, Eric Jeffery, states that businesses believe they are securing their data, but they do not. This can sound scary, but the truth is that there will always be people trying to steal data, as the online world runs 24/7. Dr Scott Nelson adds to this, expressing that, as a user, you should trust yourself. We know that data breaches can happen and therefore, if you do not feel comfortable getting a certain app, or uploading a photo of your child because of what could happen, then you should listen to yourself.

However, there are ways that apps and websites do make the public, such as parents, feel more comfortable when it comes to deciding which app they will use. Criminal hackers often use brute force – trial-and-error – to guess a user’s password. One way that companies try to prevent this from happening is by making sure their users have a long password, with a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols. 

Another way is by limiting login attempts, locking the account after several attempts at entering a password. Instagram does this and allows users ten tries before locking them out for an hour. Although this is good, as it helps to keep hackers out, some people can be forgetful and keep entering the wrong password.

This means there needs to be a system for the genuine, yet forgetful, users to be able to access their account in other ways (for example, sending a reset password email and link, or a text with a one-time code).

These are some ways to help keep hackers from breaching accounts, and a way to make you, as a parent, feel safer with the app that you use to share your family life. 

 

Online safety of photos

 

What is Splento doing to help?

Splento App is a place for you to feel safe and secure when uploading photos of your family.

This safety starts from the moment you sign on with a triple-authentication process. At all times, you are the one in control, deciding who can see the photos of your children.

We understand how important it is to keep children safe, especially as the online world is complex and presents multiple opportunities for security breaches. That we never sell our data to third parties. 

And for extra peace of mind, we give you the option to use two-factor authentication; if you wish to use the app on a new device, we will ask you for a code in addition to your password. 

The app has a load more features, but ultimately we have created it for you so that you will have the chance to share your memories of your child growing up with your family and friends, without having to stick an emoji on your child’s face and worry who else can see this photo.

Splento App is about putting family and security first, rather than using open, public and more vulnerable platforms for personal images that you want to keep personal. 

Interested? Then remember what Dr Nelson said above – trust yourself.

You can check out the Splento App for yourself on our website, and if you wish, sign up for a free demo. 

 


The Splento App is available to try now – for free!

Hit the button below to try out Splento App for yourself and start sharing all your favourite photos with your family and friends, today!

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