Experts: Back-to-school photo trend could reveal too much info

Cyber security experts say posting too much of your child's information in their back to school photo could put your child at risk. (FOX 9)

As students head back for their first day of school, cyber security experts are urging parents to be mindful of what they post on social media especially when sharing those popular photos with back-to-school signs.

"Revealing too much information can really be problematic," said Callahan Walsh, a child advocate for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "Individuals who are looking to prey on children will use the power of the internet to gain as much information about that child as possible."  

Walsh says what’s even more concerning is his organization saw a more than 20 percent increase in reports to the cyber tip line during the pandemic. The tip line is used to report suspected child abuse online. 

"During the pandemic we saw chatter amongst child predators on the dark web talking about this is a great time to groom, lure, and harm children because there’s increased screen time," Walsh added. 

While most school districts require some verification before signing a child out of school, cyber security experts say there are potential ways around it. 

"If I can find out what your favorite food is or what you want to be when you grow up, that’s going to give that child potentially that feeling that you’re not a stranger," said Mike Johnson, who serves as the director of graduate studies for the Security Technologies Program at the University of Minnesota.  

Johnson says the best thing for parents is to ask yourself about the risks before posting. 

"[Parents should ask] what should I share? Is this an appropriate thing to share? And have I done my due diligence in making sure my accounts are properly configured?" said Johnson. 

Johnson also urges parents to make sure that your posts are private and never share important information in public groups online.