A Back To School Trend Is Putting Children At Risk, Police Say

At this point in time most children have made their way back into the classroom. With September in full swing that means that school has also returned. This has sparked the ever-repeating excitement from parents about their children having their first day back. That excitement usually includes photos, or the back to school photo. However, there is a new trend when it comes to these back to school photos that has become increasingly concerning with police departments in several states.

The trend includes creating a poster or chalkboard message that includes the child’s name, age, grade and teacher’s name. There are also some that include information about the child such as interests and other personal details. These photos are then being posted on the internet for all to see. This includes anyone who might want to use the photos for malicious purposes.

The popularity of this trend has led police departments in New York, Illinois and several other states to voice caution about posting sensitive information about children online. The main worry about this trend is that someone will use the information for identity theft or to try and kidnap the child. Back in August, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office shared an image of how to keep your child safe by blurring out any personal information, such as name, grade, school name, height, weight, etc. The caption for the post read, “This information can all be used by predators, scammers, and other people looking to endanger your child, family, or finances,”

Another thing that was noted in this situation is that even if your account is set to private, that does not guarantee safety. Photos have their ways of spreading, so it’s best to take the time to just blur that sensitive information out to avoid risky situations. Donna Rice Hughes, the President and CEO of an organization looking to protect children from internet exploitation had her say on this matter, stating that it was a major risk to take, “even if their social media accounts are set to private.” She added, “Anyone in your friends’ circle can then share that information.”

Police are advising that parents look at this information as if giving it would allow for a security breach of some kind by scammers, hackers or other people with harmful intent. If there is something on the poster or chalkboard that seems personal or risky, it should be blurred or omitted to begin with. Parents are also advised to not send children out with identifying items, such as a backpack with the child’s name on the back. Items like this could easily allow for predators to identify the child quite easily, putting them in immediate danger. Overall, police want parents to take the time to think about what might put their child or family at risk before they post pictures on social media.

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BBP News

BBP News

Every week hosts of BBP News Podcast Chris Baker and Nick Rodd write about all current events from politics, technology, business and sports news.