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Posting a ‘First Day of School' Photo to Social Media? Read This First, Police Say

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It's back-to-school season across Chicago and Illinois, and as kids prepare to head to the classroom, social media feeds are lit up with proud parents posting first-day-of-school photos that boldly display teachers and kids names, ages, grades, school identifiers and more.

However, the tradition of sharing that information online could have real privacy consequences.

"A simple online photo might seem harmless, but including certain information can give hackers what they need to take advantage of you or your child," said Joe Miller, Chief of Police at the Palos Park Police Department.

"Remember, it is not your child’s precious face that’s the problem, it’s what is behind them," Miller continued. "Things like your house number, what your house looks like, your street name, your car, license plate number or even where you child catches the school bus could be clues those unsavory characters use against you.

Similarly, the McHenry County Sherriff's office last year compiled a list of five items that should never be included a social media post:

  1. School name
  2. Age of Child
  3. Teacher's name and grade
  4. Identifying features of child, such as height and weight
  5. 'Overly personal' information, or items that could be related to security question answers

"No matter your privacy settings or friends list," the sheriffs office said, "it's best to keep personal information on the internet to the bare minimum."

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