7 On Your Side and Consumer Reports: Tips to protect your child's online presence

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This is a big issue.

Posting photos is so commonplace, but you may be putting your child's privacy at risk when doing so.

In a partnership with Consumer Reports, we have tips on how you can safeguard your child's digital security, while still having the freedom to share what is important to you.

Artist and motivational speaker Rosie Jon never shies away from posting her artwork to social media.

"It's a really good tool for me to reach as many people as I can, whether they are able-bodied or not," she said.

But when it comes to her three young children, Jon takes a different approach.

"I have an 8-year-old son who's old enough to understand his own privacy," she said. "So, if it's a picture of him, I always check with him and ask him, are you happy for mommy to share this?"

Along with respecting your child's privacy, you should also be be concerned about their digital identity. Child identity theft is a real threat, and Consumer Reports says our culture of digital over sharing is likely to blame.

"Seemingly harmless information like your child's name, their age, what they look like, where they go to school, all of that information can be used to create a profile, that a hacker can use down the road for identity theft," said Bree Fowler, a Privacy Editor at Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports says follow these digital parenting tips:

First, tighten up the privacy settings on the sites you use. You can set your Facebook posts to go to just your "friends," rather than the entire public.

And limit your circle of friends even more, by creating a list of "close friends."

Another option? A closed Facebook group, which requires you to approve everyone who requests access.

Always use caution before sharing a picture of a child's actual location. Anything that could reveal hints of your home or their school.

Finally, be careful about sharing pictures of your kids in any state of undress.

"Even a very innocent photo of your kid naked in the bathtub, might kind of haunt them down the road since nothing on the internet truly goes away," Fowler adds.

As for Rosie Jon, she will continue to share, but with purpose.

"Every post has to be intentional. So just like my artwork, I make sure that each posting has a purpose and has a meaning," she said.

Another thing to think about? Wait until you get home before posting any vacation photos. You do not want to reveal to any would-be burglars that you are away.

Click here for more 7 on Your Side stories.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.