By Zunammie Keren
I was blessed with three very adorable sons including one set of fraternal twins and I just love to take photos of them and share them with friends and family online. Recently the twins who are 15 months old, were having a shower and I managed to snap the most adorable photo of them enjoying this shower. I had captured the essence of pure joy on both their faces as they playfully splashed water on each other in the bathtub and I was excited to post the photo online so that everyone could see it.
Wait…everyone would see it? Who exactly is everyone and do I really want ‘them’ to see this photo of my naked babies showering? A rush of alarm hit me and suddenly I was all too aware of the possibility that unwanted eyes could see my beautiful picture and use it in ways that I do not intend or condone. This started me on a search to find things I could do to protect my photos online and still be able to share them with loved ones.
Fortunately for us parents, we are not totally defenseless online when it comes to protecting our kid’s photos. Yes, there may be technologically skilled persons with bad intentions trying to gain access to your precious captured moments, but there are things you can do to stop them or at the very least make it very difficult for them to access your photos. Here are a few things that you can do to make your kid’s photos more secure online:
Optimize Your Privacy Settings
Most of the social media websites where you are likely to post photos of your children online like Facebook and Instagram, will have privacy settings to help you protect your photos. To make your kid’s photos more secure on these sites it is highly recommended that you make use of these privacy settings.
On Facebook for example, you can change the privacy settings for any albums that have photos of your kids so that viewing them is limited to only your friends and family. In some cases you may want to take this one step further and use the privacy settings to allow access to the album only to specific individuals on your contact list.
Use Very Strong Passwords
Even hackers will most times have to enter your password if they are trying to gain unauthorized access to your kid’s photos. The problem is that most people make this step very easy for them because they use passwords that are predictable. To make matters worse there are computer programs that hackers can use to ‘guess’ your password.
When using a password to secure your photos, other files and accounts, you should always try to use a very secure alphanumeric password that is hard to guess and that contains a mixture of upper and lower case characters, as well as a special character if possible. Your mother’s maiden name or your date of birth are no longer safe options to be used as passwords. They may be easy for you to remember but that only means they will be easy for hackers to figure out as well.
To prevent your kid’s photo’s from being recirculated online in potentially undesirable communities it is a good idea to considering watermarking them. A watermark can be an image or text that is placed on a photo as a kind of stamp of ownership. Watermarks make it difficult for persons to edit your photo without your permission and they also make it easy to trace the origin of a photo.
Adding a watermark to your photo is a fairly simple process and you can even download apps like iWatermark on your phone or tablet so that you can easily add them to photos before posting them online. Popular photo editing programs like Adobe Photoshop or Picasa can also be used to add watermarks to photos on your desktop. Check out this helpful YouTube video for instructions on how to add a watermark to images using Photoshop.
As much as we don’t like to talk about these things, the fact is that there are people out there who have less than honorable intentions and will use your kid’s photo’s in ways that you would strongly object to. As parents it is our job to do the best we can to protect our children both online and off. Don’t wait for something bad to happen to you or someone you know before you act. Implement the tips above if you are not doing them already and you will definitely reduce the chances of your photos falling into the wrong hands.
Taken from the June issue of Geek Parenting, out now!