CV News

By: Haley Zapal

School’s back in session, and we’ve got some tips to help you protect your child’s privacy, both online and in real life. 3 Quick Ways to Help Protect Your Child's Privacy This School Year

  1. Think Twice About Posting Those School Photos

You’ve seen them on Facebook and Instagram — the bright, smiling faces of kids holding up a chalkboard or sign before hopping on the bus as they begin another school year, or their actual school photo proudly displayed by their parents after the year is in full swing. The former usually lists out the date, the grade, the teacher’s name, and maybe even hobbies and future career interests, and the later is sometimes accompanied by similar information. While we definitely love this, both are forms of sharenting that present potential danger to kids.

A less-than-savory character can instantly know your child’s name, school, teacher, and even what they like to do. This could make starting up a conversation with your child easy, which is a scary prospect. And while yes, having a private social media account to post pictures like these to is always a good idea, it’s by no means 100% safe. Phones can be lost, stolen, or even hacked.

  1. Remember Everyone Can See Yard Signs

On a similar note, there’s been a recent trend in the past few years of posting school spirit signs in front yards or living room windows. They don’t always announce names, but often will proclaim to neighbors — and any stranger who drives by — a “future Smith Elementary Wildcat Lives Here.” These kinds of signs are also common around graduation time, too. Of course, you can’t hide the fact that you have kids as a neighborhood resident, but it’s probably not a good idea to broadcast their exact age to anyone who walks past your house, either.

  1. Help Safeguard Social Media Footprints

A new school year is a good time to check up on any identifying information that may be in your child’s social media footprint (if they have accounts). Make sure your kid’s username doesn’t contain details that immediately identify them as underage — this could make them a target for online predators wishing to start up a conversation. Details to avoid include birth years (like Fotnitefan2012), local school mascots, ages, and more. Similarly, many kids like to include their graduation year or school name in their Instagram or TikTok bios, but this is another way they may be targeted online by their age. Even if an account is private, these bios remain public for any user to see.

How Bark Can Help

If you’re worried about your child’s digital activities, Bark can help give you peace of mind. This award-winning service monitors texts, emails, and 30+ social media platforms and apps for dangers like bullying, online predators, depression, and more. You can also block websites and apps, create screen time schedules, and get location alerts when your kid is on the go.

Click here to learn more about Bark or sign up!