It's hard to believe, but summer is winding down and a new school year is about to begin. This time of year parents love to show off their children in their "first-day" pictures holding those Etsy-style signs. As much as we all love the cuteness overload, all the sharing may actually be dangerous.

Pretty soon you will start seeing those trendy posts all over social media. You know, the one where you are taking a picture of your child holding a board with information about them, like their teacher’s name, their best friends, and their favorite color. Cute? Yes, but those posts could be giving criminals the keys to commit a crime against your family and your kids with that information, like your child’s teacher or what they want to be when they grow up, being used to get access to your child.

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As much as social media has been a great way to share all the highlights of our lives, including our children, it has become a haven for child predators. According to the Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center, there is an estimated 500,000 online predators active each day. Even with your privacy settings adjusted to just include "friends", the information is still making its way out into the "world".

Police again this school year are advising parents to think before they post.

"Parents should always be careful when posting pictures, especially of their children.  You should always check settings, limiting who can access them.
When it comes to school pictures, you don’t want to give any information that may help identify your child or their school", Sergeant Scott Theede of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department told us."Even something as simple as a mascot can help a predator gain information on your child.  If they know your child is an “Eagle” and they know the city you live in, a simple computer search can direct them to your child’s school.
Parents should always remember, less is best!"

What Should Parents Avoid Posting Online?

Law Enforcement experts advise keeping details to a bare minimum.

Don't share:

  •  School name
  •  Age
  •  Teacher's name and grade
  •  Identifying features (height, weight, etc.)
  •  Overly personal information (think items related to passwords or security question answers, etc.)

We know every first day is a big day, but with the craziness of the world and the easy access, maybe just stick to showing off pictures on your phone when you see friends and family in person.

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