We all do it- sharing memories and moments with the digital world through a post or a photo on social media depicting our current mood, activity, places we are at and even who we are hanging out with. But did you know these fun and innocent gestures could be dangerous?

While internet and social media safety are often topical discussion points for many parents today, the reality is that keeping kids safe is not just about making sure their social activity is monitored closely and protected. Parents too need to understand that what they post online about their children can also put their children at risk.

According to Riaan Badenhorst, the General Manager at Kaspersky Lab Africa, In 2016, a Kaspersky Lab security expert uncovered a malware attack that tricked approximately 10, 000 Facebook users around the world! Basically their devices were infected with a virus after receiving a message from a ‘friend’ claiming to have mentioned them on Facebook. The compromised devices were then used to hack Facebook accounts, and spread the infection through the victim’s own Facebook friends and to enable other malicious activity.

Now, imagine if this ‘other malicious activity’ was stealing pictures of kids and selling them for a profit? The reality is that this kind of cybercriminal activity can happen. However, to safeguard any online social media accounts, parents can follow the following key tips: –

Refrain from making social media profiles public.  Ensure all your social media accounts are set on privacy view, to avoid anyone from accessing your profile pages and viewing (and taking) the content and images from these pages. The privacy view only offers access to people the profile user is connected to (i.e.: friends). You can also change this privacy setting on a post-by-post level.

Avoid sharing pictures of other people’s kids. As a parent, be aware that not all parents are fans of posting images to social media, and so avoid posting pictures of your kids, with other kids on the image – such as group school photos or party photos.

Don’t create social media profile for children. Given the convenience social media offers, there are instances when parents create a whole new profile, just for their child, for the purpose of sharing pictures and updates about their child’s life journey. While this can be a nice thing to do to keep family and friends updated, it can also be very risky – as anything online has a risk of being turned to a cybercriminal activity.

Keep certain moments private. For instance while kids do tend to do the cutest things while in the bathtub, this time is something that should be kept private, to protect children. Be picky of sharing every cute or beautiful moment of your child online.

Invest in a good Internet Security solution. As a parent ensure that the devices you use to view social media and upload images to social media sites, are well protected with a good Internet security solutions such as the latest antivirus softwares and malware apps.