Back-to-school social media posts could reveal personal information, expert says

(WFSB) – Picture boards are likely already taking over your social media feeds as many prepare to return to classrooms.

If you look carefully, a student’s personal information can sometimes be dangerously exposed.

“Until today, no, it’s not something I had thought about. I have lots of friends who have used these chalkboards in the past and I know it’s a fun ritual for them, but student privacy is a big issue these days,” said Maureen Fox, an elementary school teacher.

Fox says technology is such a huge part of everyday education these days, so it’s crucial that not only parents are aware, but educators as well.

What you may not know is that the information on these signs could put you and your family in great danger.

The Berlin Police Department posted on Facebook Thursday, reminding parents that posting back-to-school photos could “lead information to potential predators or scammers.”

“This is definitely going to make me think twice about posting and I don’t want to take away any kind of fun family ritual, but maybe just edit it out,” Fox said.

That’s exactly what Kenneth Gray, a retired FBI special agent and lecturer at the University of New Haven, says to do.

Gray points out that predators used to go to places where their next victim could be found, like playgrounds for example. Now they just go online.

“A picture board like this that gives information about the child, what the child looks like, showing what school he might be going to, showing what city he’s in, that’s all very useful information for someone trying to target a child for a sex crime,” Gray said.

He shares the following tips if you choose to publish your image boards online:

Every post can be shared with strangers, so be sure to limit the amount of information you post.

Be sure to post in private groups such as group chats, private social media accounts, or email.

About John A. Provost

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