Social media during the start of the school year: the authorities are calling for caution

Social media during back-to-school: authorities appeal for caution

The OPP advises against sharing your personal information and that of your children. (Archives)

As the start of the school year is in full swing, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reminds us to be vigilant on social networks. Accidentally sharing sensitive information in traditional back-to-school photos can pose a security risk to both your personal accounts and your children.

It's a public place and criminals will do anything to get your personal information, which can be used in a crime, reminds OPP Information Officer for the Northeast Region, Carlo Berardi.

The tradition of back-to-school photos has evolved with the advent of social media.

Nina Duque, lecturer and researcher in the department of social and public communications at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), points out that there are several issues related to this evolution, such as consent, security of life and private information and the risk of fraud.

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It opens a Pandora's box, she believes about the impact of social networks. Fraudsters take advantage of our ignorance.

Mr. Berardi agrees.

He believes that it is always a risk to place information such as his child's name, school and the name of a teacher since everyone can see what you put on the Internet.

According to them, there are several ways to reduce the risks associated with sharing photos.

Joël Belliveau, a father of two daughters, has stopped sharing the back-to-school photos of his two girls for a while for fear of being recognized in public.

Although he is in favor of telling his life and seeing it as a story, he finds that it is not healthy to share everything.

Joël Belliveau believes that the tradition of back-to-school photos has gained momentum thanks to social networks. (Archives)

These are media accessible to all. We develop a relationship with people we do not know. We recognize people we don't know. Before, we only recognized the stars! Now that includes all kinds of people, he explains.

“I thought to myself, "do I really want my children to be little stars?" »

— Joël Belliveau, father of two daughters

Now that these girls are older, Mr. Belliveau has resumed posting photos while following the recommendations of the authorities concerning sharing information on social media.

The first thing is to limit personal information on the Internet, says Carlo Berardi.

A banal photo of a child in front of a school is often full of information, adds Ms. Duque.

We are often able to know where she was taken, the school where the child goes, we can gauge her age and even see other children back. We are giving a whole range of information to people who are not always benevolent.

If it is important for young people to develop digital literacy in order to navigate the Internet and new social networks safely, the same is true for parents. It's pretty new for adults, too, says Duque.

“As long as we don't offer 101 classes, will be up to each individual to do their own homework. »

— Nina Duque, researcher in the department of social and public communications at UQAM

The Ontario organization Parents Partenaires en Éducation (PPE) is considering adding an awareness component to to healthy exposure on the Internet or Internet ethics to the workshops he offers to parents on Thursdays.

We are in the process of developing policies for our board members, to our employees, but why not for our parents wonders the president of PPE, Paul Baril.

As long as we research and find healthy ways to have a presence on social media or the internet, why not share them with our parents?

That's to have the reflex to take 10 seconds before posting a photo, adds Ms. Duque.

In the digital age, many children grow up not knowing that they have an established web presence.

Maybe there needs to be a little awareness about putting your child on social media because there are kids who come in at 6 or 7 years old who already have a profile and a digital life behind them, thinks Mr. Baril.

Nina Duque is interested especially to the online practices of young people and adolescents.

To avoid conflicts, Ms. Duque advises to ask yourself if it could be embarrassing for my child, "do I I asked his permission", "is he happy and who will have access to these photos".

With healthy habits like that, we don't not deprive of the pleasure of showing our child. But at the same time, we maintain security and a healthy way of using social networks, she explains.

With information from Bienvenu Senga

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