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Parents warned not to post school photos of their kids: 'Disturbing'

Parents are being warned not to post school photos of their children online as they return to class.

Nigel Phair, a former Australian Federal Police officer and current director of Enterprise at UNSW Canberra, told Yahoo News Australia online predators often use information such as where children go to school to determine where a child lives.

“Predators are good at looking for things to zero in on to gain a child’s confidence, whether it’s knowing where a child lives or details about the school,” Mr Phair said.

A woman is seen on a phone and girls are seen in school uniform. Parents are being warned not to post school photos of kids in their uniform.
Parents are being warned not to post school photos of kids in their uniform on social media. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“You shouldn’t post photos of kids on their first day back at school, or at school sporting events.”

Information cannot only be used to figure out where a child resides but also used to groom children and gain trust.

Commander of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation and Child Protection Operations, Hilda Sirec, told Sunrise the AFP regularly seizes online photographs of school kids from child sex offenders.

She urged parents to be cautious of not only posting photographs, but also being conscious of tagging locations, or of background images which might give away information.

“We have seen some offenders go to great lengths to gain access to children and in some instances, online grooming has started with information that parents and carers have shared online,’’ Commander Sirec told Sunrise.

Mr Phair said online predators are only becoming more resourceful.

“It is disturbing. There is no other word for it,” he said.

Parents advised to check Facebook privacy settings

But rather than scaring people, Mr Phair advised parents or carers who absolutely have to post photos of their kids that they check their privacy settings on social media.

Privacy settings are seen on a Facebook profile.
You can determine what people see on your Facebook profile publicly by clicking the view as option. Source: Facebook

On Facebook, users can select the “view as” option on their profile to determine what members of the public can actually see.

He added not only is making information public a risk for parents and carers, but also generally a security issue for people concerned with hackers.

“People look for locations, maiden names and school names to determine answers to security questions,” he said.

“You’d be surprised at how much info we give out publicly without realising.”

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