Parents are being urged to think twice about posting first day of school photos to social media.
Commander Hilda Sirec, who leads the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, said parents could be inadvertently divulging personal information about their children to a large group of people which could be used by predators.
"We're not saying that they shouldn't share at all. What we're saying is that they should certainly check who they're going to share the images with so keep their social media settings to just friends or just trusted people.
"Make sure that the image that they do share doesn't readily identify the children, their names and date of birth, ages and also the schools, and location that images are taken in and you can also make sure that your camera doesn't have location settings attached that there's no metadata behind it."
Commander Sirec said she had seen cases where innocuous images of children had formed part of a child sex offender's collection of child abuse material.
Information revealed on social media could also be used by offenders to strike up a friendship with a family and gain access to victims.
"They've been essentially grooming them into additional contact, moving some of the conversations with children on to different file-sharing apps and communication apps and then also making offers such as fake modelling contracts or clothing or other benefits to start that sort of trust communication with them, and then asking them for, in the beginning innocent images which evolved into asking for sexualised photos or child exploitation material."
Commander Sirec said it was important to have a conversation with family and friends about not resharing photos online and to seek permission of other children's parents before posting any photos.
Privacy tips for first day of school photos:
- Keep your child's personal information including full name and age private.
- Ensure the background of photos or videos doesn't give away your address or location (and don't post your location or 'check in').
- Avoid posting photos in school uniform.
- Only share images of your children with people you know and trust.
- For community accounts, consider having a closed group with approved members and ensure you have strong privacy settings in place.