Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kids Photos on Social Networking Sites

So, I had a kind of creepy experience today. I went to check my email, and there was someone requesting to be my contact on Flikr. This happens once in a while, as I am quite an active Flikr user. Most of my photos relate to crafts, swaps, and quilts that I am working on. Mostly the people who want to be my contacts are swapping with me, or are other people who do crafts or make quilts and who hang out in the same groups as I do. But this person was someone unfamiliar to me -- I had never received a comment from them or "seen" them on any of the craft-related and swap-related groups I generally post in.

Flash back: A year or so ago, before I had my laptop, I thought my desktop computer was going to crash because it was slowing down so much. It was a dinosoar and did not have a drive that could write anything to cd, and Yahoo! photos was shutting down and being overtaken by Flikr. So I paid my subscription fee and transferred all my family photos for the last 3 years to Flikr, without thinking much about it. Most of them I transferred with a "Private" Setting, but a few files had photos of quilts and crafts and my kids, so I left those whole files as "Public", meaning to go back and change them later.

Flash forward to today: So, I go to check out the profile of this stranger who wants to be my contact. And do you know what is in their favorites? Exclusively photos of little boys, mostly with blond hair and blue eyes, like my boys. The person is a single male, whose photos are all of dogs and vacations. Creepy. I think I will block you, thank you very much.

Guess what I spent the afternoon doing? I rifled through my entire Flikr account, making almost all the photos of my boys private. Weirdly enough, I found two photos of my boys that have not been posted in any Group that I know of that had between 100 and 200 views each - generally my photos have 2 or 3 views, and my quilts sometimes have 30 or 40. Where did those people come from? Who were they? And what were they doing looking at photos of my children?

That is my cautionary tale for today. Be careful what you casually post on the internet. Those of us who hang around in the friendly mom and craft and food and decorating parts of the web can sometimes forget that it it not really a safe place.

1 comment:

  1. Ok Clever Mama! Time to test your cleverness. You need to contact your local FBI and give them the name of who tried to "friend" you. They can walk you step by step to dig into your computer and retrieve the ISP it came from or they can do their own investigating based on the flikr account info you give them!
    DO THIS! You could save another little boy who may have a blogging mama that's not so clever!!! Let me know if you need any help!




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