The video warns parents about what not to put in their back-to-school posts

Back-to-school season means tons of adorable social media posts with smiling kids and chalkboard backgrounds. And though we all jump to “like” and “love” them, we should be giving a bit more thought to what’s being shown. A viral TikTok has recently resurfaced that cautions parents against putting too much personal information online in their back-to-school photos.

“If it just says ‘first day‘, that’s not terrible,” TikToker Cathy Pedrayes, a cybersecurity professional, said in her video. But when you’re putting all of the other personal information out there for the world to see, it creates security risks for you, your child, and your family, Pedrayes told TODAY. “Some of them have the child’s name, teacher’s name, school, favorite sports or activities, and maybe you don’t want a bunch of strangers knowing that,” she said.


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“People in general don’t realize how much they overshare on social media,” she continued. “When kids are younger, if you’re posting their school uniform or sports uniform, you’re revealing where your kids are most days of the year. It’s just extra vulnerable information.”

If you want to share pictures safely, there are apps you can use, like Tinybeans (which you can download here), that give you a sense of security as a parent that you’re not sharing with the wrong people.

It’s also a good idea to check your account security settings and customize your controls for any social media accounts you use and on any devices you use them on, Brittnay Clay from cybersecurity company, Lookout, tells Tinybeans. “Almost 1 in 4 people have their Facebook profile settings open to the ‘Public’ – meaning anyone can view and collect personal details from the account,” she said. “Attackers can easily scrape this information from social media posts and attempt to use this information to log accounts or attempt identity theft.”

Law enforcement and other cybersecurity experts agree. “[I]t is not your child’s precious face that’s the problem, it’s what is behind them,” Joe Miller, chief of police at the Palos Park Police Department, told NBC Chicago. “Things like your house number, what your house looks like, your street name, your car, license plate number, or even where your child catches the school bus could be clues those unsavory characters use against you.”

Not only could these posts potentially give child predators (an estimated half a million of which are online every day) information about exactly where your child goes to school and their teacher’s name, but some also include things like their favorite color or animal, which can be used to lure kids into unsafe situations.

While we all want to see little ones and their back-to-school adventures, limiting the information we share feels like good advice—especially if it involves just leaving more of the specific information off these adorable chalkboards.

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