Uploading photos and videos onto social media services and websites can be a great way to share memorable moments with friends and family, or to boost engagement with your community.
But there can be risks associated with posting photos and videos of children online. There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of photos and videos being shared more widely than you intended.
Tips for taking photos and videos and sharing them online
Public and private places
The law treats taking photos or videos in private places and public places differently. In public places you have the right to take a photo unless you do so in a way that is offensive or makes a nuisance to those around you. When an event is taking place at a private place people can enforce rules about photography, so you should consider gaining consent before taking photos and videos.
Think before you post
Once posted online any photo or video can be shared, copied and/or manipulated. You may not be able to control how a photo or video is used by others.
- Who might be able to see these photos?
- Is there anyone else in this photo? (Be mindful that some people may not want their image to be published)
- Will this photo offend anyone?
- Are there any identifying details in the photo? (Including personal information such as your child’s name, landmarks and street signs)
When uploading photos and videos check your privacy settings on the social media services you use as well as on the device. You can change privacy settings to control who sees your photos.
Alternate ways to share photos and videos
Other ways that may give you more control when sharing photos and videos include:
- sharing photos by email
- using a secure online portal (secure online facility enabling organisations to authorise access through secure passwords)
- multimedia messaging service (a standard way to send messages that include photos and videos over a cellular network).
Storing photos and videos taken by teachers or coaches
Ideally organisations and schools should have protocols on the storing of videos and photos which require:
- secure passcodes/passwords for all devices to stop unauthorised access
- use of devices that are owned by the organisation and/or school to take photos and videos
- secure storage of photos and videos (e.g. secure school server) and their deletion from the devices within a reasonable time.
Sharing photos online can sometimes identify your location.
If you do not want to share your location through your photos:
- check the location settings on your device to know what apps are using geo–location and turn them off or limit the function
- ensure that GPS locations and schedules of children’s activities are not shared online.
Taking these steps and being mindful of safety can help to minimise any risks that come with you sharing photos and videos of your child online. It’s important to remember that some people may have a different interest in your child than you do. There have been cases where innocent images posted on social media or other websites have been ‘harvested’ and used for other purposes. Sometimes predators can narrow down their search of children because of identifying details in photos.
Information for parents and carers
Parents, families and children enjoy seeing photos of their achievements but this should always be done safely.