Advice for parents on sharing back-to-school images online
Editor’s note: Social media video showing how to edit images via Hightail.
The AFP is today releasing a new video to help parents and carers manage the type of information they might be sharing about their children online.
The video comes as school returns around the country, with many families celebrating the milestone by sharing images of their children’s first day of school on social media.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Hilda Sirec says there are simple ways parents can better protect their children online.
“If you are sharing images of your children online, review your privacy settings on social media to limit the personal information being shared with others,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.
“Without strong privacy settings, images shared online of their child's first day at school or other everyday images may end up being seen by unintended audiences.”
“We also suggest setting accounts to ‘private’ or ‘friends only’, review your friends or followers and only share images of children with people you know and trust.”
Parents and carers should also consider using images that do not include anything that gives away identifying factors, such as their children’s names, locations or school logos.
“To help make this easier to navigate, we have created a social media video resource to assist parents and carers edit those happy snaps and post them safely.”
The video shows how to use simple tools to blur out personal information from photos; like school logos, school names, name tags, street numbers and other identifying factors.
“Any information, however seemingly innocent, can make it the easier for offenders to build a profile of a child with the intention of grooming them, or even to groom the parents or carers in a bid for access or leverage,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.
Community or school social media pages featuring children are also being encouraged to consider how they manage their social media accounts, the types of images being shared on their accounts, and who can view them. Police are aware of instances of profiles with no known connection to a school or community group following the social media page.
Top tips for parents and carers
- Choose strong privacy settings if you are posting photos or videos of your child that contain identifying factors, including school uniforms
- Ensure the background of photos or videos doesn’t give away your address or location (avoid posting your location or ‘checking in’)
- Only share images of your children with people you know in-person and trust
- For community or school accounts, keep an eye out for suspicious accounts and consider and what permissions you have in place for other profiles to access your page.
How to report online child abuse
- If you believe a child is in imminent danger, call police Triple Zero (000) or visit your local police station.
- If your child is experiencing issues online, it is essential to collect evidence - taking screenshots or photos of the content. Once you have collected your evidence, block and report on the app, site or platform where the issue occurred.
Online child sexual exploitation can be reported to the ACCCE at https://www.accce.gov.au/report or to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit to learn more www.accce.gov.au/support
Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation: www.thinkuknow.org.au
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.
Just over half of parents and carers don’t know what to do to keep their kids safe online. Just 3 per cent of parents are concerned about online grooming. And, almost a quarter believe online child sexual exploitation is too repulsive to even think about.
Note to media:
Use of term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’
The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.
Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:
- indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
- conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.
Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297