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Are Photos of Your Children Safe Online?

TRUE OR FALSE- Photos taken with smartphones can provide others with information about where the photo was taken? TRUE!!!

photos_safeWe all do it. We take a photo of our child doing something ridiculously cute (or at least we think so at the time). We then share it on Facebook or on Instagram or on Flickr or email it to friends or grandparents. Seems innocent enough, right?

But did you know that you may be jeopardising your child’s safety in doing so? Yes, when you upload your images or share them online, along with the image is some ‘meta-data’ (computer-speak for information attached to a digital photo). See the video below (please note- some of the information in this video is out-dated).

Many of today’s smartphones and cameras have ‘geo-tagging’ capabilities. This means that your device will ‘tag’ or ‘stamp’ each photo with the precise geographic information about where each photo was taken (‘meta-data’). And this ‘meta-data’ can also be accessed by other people if you are sharing photos electronically. That means that the location of where a photo is taken, can be added to the photo, in the form of ‘meta-data’.

You will be pleased to know that at this point in time, both Facebook and Twitter strip the meta-data from photos uploaded to their site. So it is NOT possible to extract meta-data from the images uploaded to these sites.

However, if you upload photos elsewhere (including Flickr) or on other online forums or social media or via email, then the meta-data may still be attached.

So What Can Parents Do?

Turn off location settings. This will prevent your device from using GPS to determine your device’s location.

General  restrictions

location services  camera

Alternatively, just turn off ‘Location Services’ for your ‘Camera’- this will prevent your camera from storing data about where photos were taken.

What else concerns you about your child’s online safety? Tell me below in the comments.

Dr KG_Signature_pink



I’m Dr. Kristy Goodwin

Researcher, speaker, author, and mum - and not only do I GET it, I’ve dedicated my entire career to helping my fellow professionals and parents explore this exact digital dilemma.

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