3 Tips for Safe, Savvy Photo Sharing

Encourage kids (and their parents) to be mindful about capturing memories.

June 23, 2016
Darri Stephens Senior Director, Education Content
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Digital Citizenship, Parents and Families, Students, Tools

Summer is a time when freedom reigns and kids are looking forward to camp days, pool and beach parties, and neighborhood adventures. But with over 70 percent of kids between 11 and 18 carrying a device that can take photographs -- and instantly share photos across countless apps and social media platforms -- we want to encourage kids (and their parents!) to be mindful about the memories they're capturing.

Tip #1: Encourage kids to pause and think before they post.

Over 80 million photos are posted on Instagram every day, so kids need to be mindful about their digital footprints -- and those of their friends. We especially want them to self-reflect before they self-reveal when it comes to more risqué beach, hot tub, or party photos. We want them to be safe now, by thinking twice before tagging photos with full names or geolocations, and safe for the future, when college admissions officers and future employers may be looking at their past social media feeds.

Tip #2: Practice the art of photo tagging.

It's never too young to start teaching kids the etiquette of photo tagging. One way is for parents to model it themselves. Even if it's an innocent, cute photo from a BBQ or backyard football game, we're hearing from parents that their kids are asking them not to post so many photos of them online. So encourage parents to make it a habit to ask their kids if they have permission to post a picture before they share it. With such modeling, kids, in turn, hopefully will think twice before sharing a photo of their friends without asking. And emphasize that they should make sure not to tag others in the photo or comment in a way that might make others feel left out.

Tip #3: Do something with the photos!

Don't just let photographs languish in a device. Summer is a great opportunity to sit down with kids and explore a new photo app together. The editing and design features of digital apps and websites these days are so sophisticated kids will feel like true artists while gaining a whole new skill set! Check out ToonCameraPhoto Grid - Collage MakerFotobabble, and PicsArt - Photo Studio. Together, you can collaborate on multimedia projects such as a video or scrapbook with narration or music. And then they have a visual storehouse of memories to reflect on and write about when they're back in school and you ask them that perennial question, "So what did you do over the summer break?"