Post­ing pic­tures of chil­dren on so­cial me­dia puts them at risk

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - ROLAND MPOFU

DATA pro­tec­tion and pri­vacy lawyer, Philipa Jane Far­ley, has warned par­ents not to make pic­tures of their chil­dren freely and pub­licly avail­able, espe­cially on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

This was af­ter one par­ent com­plained in a What­sApp group that her daugh­ter’s pho­tos were be­ing posted on so­cial me­dia by a man claim­ing to be his daugh­ter’s father, when he wasn’t. The woman, who can’t be named to pro­tect her daugh­ter, was com­plain­ing about one of their group who took pic­tures of her daugh­ter dur­ing a Lon­grich pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Good morn­ing Lead­ers, this guy (name with­held), he is also here in this group is (sic) been post­ing my daugh­ter’s pho­tos on his so­cial me­dia claim­ing she’s his daugh­ter, he took these pho­tos when we were at pre­sen­ta­tion.

“As a par­ent I can do any­thing to pro­tect my daugh­ter, l find this so creepy, kids are kid­napped and raped in this coun­try. As par­ents we now avoid post­ing them on so­cial me­dia be­cause we want to pro­tect them.

“Please peo­ple, don’t al­low strangers to take pic­tures with your chil­dren as you won’t know their in­ten­tions.

“I tried talk­ing to him, in­stead he is threat­en­ing me. I guess this is a clear no­ti­fi­ca­tion that he won’t stop.

“This is a les­son learnt. Please be care­ful out there, pro­tect your chil­dren,” the post said.

Com­ment­ing on the mat­ter, Far­ley said the im­pos­tor could be some­one suf­fer­ing from trauma which has re­sulted in him be­ing delu­sional or psy­chotic.

“Not be­ing aware of the en­tire con­text makes it quite dif­fi­cult to state cat­e­gor­i­cally that there is ma­li­cious in­tent. How­ever, let this story serve as a fair warn­ing to par­ents, that they should not be mak­ing pic­tures of their chil­dren freely and pub­licly avail­able.

“The be­hav­iour of a preda­tor or pae­dophile is usu­ally more se­cre­tive.

“This is overt and ob­vi­ous. There may, but not cer­tainly, be a pos­si­bil­ity of kid­nap­ping if the bound­ary be­tween in­di­ca­tion and re­al­ity be­came blurred,” she warned.

Far­ley said par­ents should not post pic­tures of their chil­dren.

“Ed­u­cate your­self about every so­cial me­dia plat­form you’re on. And never, make your ad­dress pub­lic.

“Are there land­marks that can be recog­nised, road names, school, and sym­bols, any­thing that can trace back to the where­abouts of your child? If there are, you are freely pro­vid­ing the roadmap to dis­as­ter.” All ef­forts to speak to the man were un­suc­cess­ful.

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