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Police warn parents to be careful about back-to-school social media posts

Aug 18, 2023, 4:30 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — Your social media feeds are about to be full of them – photos of kids as they head back to school.

Parents everywhere not only want to dress up their kids in their best clothes for the first day but getting those first day photos is also important.

Many parents love posting those photos on social media. 

However, if you do, police departments are reminding parents it’s important to make sure you’re not giving away too much.

“With social media, we are just being aware that what we post can be impactful towards us,” Detective Spencer Stansfield with the Saratoga Springs Police Department said.

Stansfield is also a school resource officer and he said it’s not so much those first-day back pictures, it’s more what is on the signs and chalkboards some of those photos contain.“What classroom our kids are going to be in, the grades they’re in. That gives us an age and how old they are. The school, their location, the name of their teacher,” he said.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department posted a Facebook message warning parents that predators and scammers could use that info to endanger their child or their family.

“I don’t want to be an alarmist, but those are scary things for parents and you certainly have to be careful,” Earl Foote said.

Foote is the CEO of Nexus IT, which is a cyber security company based in Salt Lake City.

He says it’s a good idea to make sure your privacy settings are locked down so those photos can’t be seen by everyone.

“There are people who use publicly available content of minors for malicious purposes,” Foote said.

Foote also encouraged parents to create subsets on social media platforms of people you know in real life and trust.

That way you can choose who among your social media friends can see the pictures and it doesn’t get seen by all your followers.

“It doesn’t take that long to do that,” Foote said. “Fifteen minutes, maybe a half hour tops. I think it’s absolutely worth the safety and security of children to do it.”

Stansfield said he doesn’t have any specific examples of this happening in Saratoga Springs but feels the potential is always there.

“You never know in today’s society,” he said. “We don’t want to make parents scared. We just want to educate and inform them of what may be out there.”

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Police warn parents to be careful about back-to-school social media posts