Photo sharing website Instagram was a household name even before Facebook bought the company for $1 billion. Now, even if you don’t have an Instagram account, someone in your family almost certainly does. You should know that they aren’t safe, as one mother found out the hard way.
Mommy blogger Hailey Devine posted her story:
As years have gone by, I have posted photos of the exterior of our house to share excitement in the building process and even exposed what city we lived to curious readers. I have posted multiple photos of my little Lucy in her diaper (etc.) because I love sharing little motherhood experiences. We would also post photos while we were on vacation. I completely put myself out there.
As my following grew, I was really naive about the messed up people on the Internet. I assumed all my followers were these cute young girls, aspiring to be videographers or waiting for missionaries. To be honest, I got caught up in the numbers, and I stopped looking at who started following me. This is where the frightening part happened.
One morning, I curiously scrolled through my new followers. It was quite the traumatic experience to see what kind of messed up and really quite evil people were following me. I was exposed to some really icky stuff on these profiles. These people were able to view every post of my home, my life and my baby.
A few days later, I found stolen photos of my little Lucy on these accounts, and they had been fooled around with by people the Washington Post referred to as Instagram users who are “creating strange fictional relationships using photos of other people’s children.”
I’ve told you about these types of people before, and it turns out there’s not much you can do about it. Except for taking the advice Devine posted on her blog.
Devine suggests you ask yourself these 5 questions before you post anything on Instagram:
- Is this picture solely of my child and showing their whole face? Does this post of my child show innocent nudity? Most stolen photos were of just baby alone, looking at the camera. Avoid posting these types of photos.
- Does this post show that I am away from home? Don’t let stalkers and creeps know that you are home alone and don’t advertise to burglars that your house is empty.
- Does this post show the exterior or the details of the interior of my home? Keep your home your safe haven!
- Is my location setting on? Turn off all location settings.
- Is this moment too special to share with the whole world? Don’t be pressured to share every moment.
By asking yourself these specific questions, you can avoid a lot of trouble down the line without having to delete your entire account. I would also suggest you put your account on private and only share these intimate moments with close friends and family.