Digital kidnapping is a relatively new term that is less scary but with similar threats, like the physical kidnapping that almost all people know. It involves stealing minors’ photos from the internet and posting them as their own or parents‘.
Have you ever posted nice photos of your children on social media platforms? If yes, have you ever taken security measures to control the activities of people who obsess or see the photos? Digital kidnapping is real, extremely frightening, and can find you off-guard.
The most worrisome about this type of theft is the level these cybercriminals have taken to leverage photos of minors to create entirely new identities. They can use the “shopped” photos and identities to infiltrate the lives of other children at the comfort of their computer screens.
Statistics show that there are approximately 3 billion social media users across the globe. It accounts for about thirty-seven percent of the total world population. The platforms have grown exponentially over the past few years and are expected to go higher. As a result, the number of children’s photos being randomly circulated by parents and relatives has significantly increased.
The worst part of it all is when you post your child’s back-to-school picture, tagging the name and location of the institutions. Cybercriminals utilize this information and the geographical metadata assigned to the photo to get the necessary child’s information. Using this information as the basis, they can dig you further into the social media platforms to add more vital information that helps them put all pieces together in a more convincing manner.
Effective Ways to Avoid Digital Kidnapping
It feels good to cheer up your children and family on social media platforms. Actually, most people cannot go for a week or two without posting the images. It is okay. However, you need to be vigilant to protect vital information from being taken out of context. Some tips to safeguard your children’s and family identity and pictures include:
1. Exercise the Privacy Settings.
Before posting pictures on your social media platforms, ensure your settings are turned to private mode. The settings will allow you to control the number of people who can easily access your social media information. Only media users you allow to follow you will access your posts and images.
2. Be Selective.
Many people can’t stay long without posting on social media. It’s fine, but you need to be extra cautious and selective in the images you share. Some photos showing your child’s real birthday, school, and geographical location may give cybercriminals the basic information over which they can build the digital kidnapping.
3. Watermark the Photos.
If you don’t want to turn the social media settings to private mode, you can take extra precautions, such as watermarking the images before posting. Watermarking involves “engraving” your signature somewhere within the picture before posting. Ensure you watermark at a conspicuous place, particularly towards the middle of the image, to discourage cropping. Watermarking can be done using some apps such as iWatermark, and eZy watermark.
4. Keep Your Location Classified.
Giving too much information can increase the vulnerability of your children, family, and relatives to cybercrime. Giving your real name and birthday on social media platforms is okay, but giving your actual home location, workstation, and the learning institution attended by your children is not. The scariest reality is that you don’t know what these perpetrators need to complete their kidnapping, but at least you know location is a key requirement.
More scary stories will keep evolving from social media platforms, and they can probably get you off-guard. However, you can try your best to defend your privacy by ensuring your critical information remains yours. Before posting any photo, think of the security concerns and enhance the same. At PeopleFinders, we are delighted to give you the most effective tips to protect you, your family, and your relatives from all forms of cybercrime. Contact us today for more cyber information and sharenting.