Drawing the line : best practices

Drawing the Line

Best Practices for educational establishments

Child safety and education best practices

Seeing this spurred us to analyse some of the negative impacts that could be suffered by your children through the erroneous use of social media.

While the intentions of the campaign could be entirely harmless and are for the most part an attempt in attracting new registrations as well as keeping the parents of the current students engaged, there could also be many negative repercussions.

Most business pages are public by default which means that complete strangers will have access to the images of your children. There are a few different sides to this. Recent research in the US showed that the worst culprits when it comes to posting images of kids on social media were parents. The study found that 63% of mums use Facebook; of these, 97% said they post pictures of their child; 89% post status updates about them, and 46% post videos.

Hence, when parents consent to the schools publishing the image of their kids online, they might be inadvertently giving out sensitive information such as the full name, geographical location, daily routine, appearance and other factors that might tip off lurking danger and put your child and even your entire family at risk.

“There are two things to be careful about, One is the amount of information that you give away, which might include things like date of birth, place of birth, the child’s full name, or tagging of any photographs with a geographical location – anything that could be used by somebody who wanted to steal your child’s identity. The second issue is more around consent. What type of information would children want to see about themselves online at a later date?” – Victoria Nash, acting director of the Oxford Internet Institute

“I think we should start with the question of cost – if you post a picture of your child with the mark of the devil on their arm, or in a temper tantrum, perhaps that will have a future cost. It’s not all pictures, but certain pictures that are problematic.” – Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics, and an expert on children and the internet

Not too far in the past a particular Sri Lankan Facebook page with the name, “Lassana Podi Kello” caused a massive outcry owing to the fact that it was essentially a forum for paedophilia and the exchange of such illicit, explicit material. The outcry caused the page admins to change their cover picture and basically remove all the content which meant that the page was not taken down by Facebook as it then, did not violate their community guidelines. The page as at current has been taken down, but we were able to find some related posts about this.

The most disturbing part was, in addition to the irksome comments and reactions of the group members, of course, was the fact that these kids were all minors and had no idea that their image was been exploited. In fact, it is quite possible that the parents did not know either.

What more evidence is needed before intelligent use of social media is exercised?On a compassionate level, the tendency of parents to record every recital, concert and moment of their kid’s lives instead of actually live and enjoy it with their children could cause a massive gap in their communication in the future in addition to setting a bad example for your kids to follow. While as adults and parents we many think that we are permitted to make decisions about the child, it could be considered unethical to display information publicly about somebody who is incapable of giving consent, as it could lead to repercussions later on in their lives. If you were unable to say “OK” would you be happy that somebody has made your private info available to the public?

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