June 21st is recognized as National Selfie Day. Although the “selfie” predates its name, social media, and digital technology altogether, every year we celebrate the most common form of self-expression: the selfie.

The advancement of technology has made the art of the selfie easier and more accessible than ever. From front-facing cameras on devices to selfie sticks, filters, and ring lights, it’s possible for almost anyone to snap a quick picture of themselves. Selfies generally capture a moment in time; however, they could be captured just because you like the way you look that day.

So, how do we celebrate National Selfie Day? It’s simple! Snap a quick picture, or share your favourite selfies from throughout the years, tagging your post with #NationalSelfieDay.

While sharing photos online can be very convenient when it comes to keeping friends and family updated on your life, the dangers of photo sharing are utterly undeniable. There have been instances where photos have been stolen to create false identities and scam people out of money or information. There have also been much more serious situations where location tags on images and posts have aided in the abduction of children.

With this being said, you should always be vigilant when sharing your selfies, especially if those selfies include your kids. For starters, you should double check your privacy settings and limit who can see your posts. Additionally, you should check your child’s privacy settings and do the same on their devices. Be sure to explore some of the other privacy settings while you’re there and disable things like “location sharing” or “geotagging”. This will prevent location data being attached to yours or your child’s posts and therefore keeping strangers from knowing where you or your child may be.

If, for example, you take a lovely vacation with your family and you’d like to share the scenery or the fun you’re having, ensure that you only share the images you’ve taken after you’ve left wherever it is that you were. This way, you can leave the location tags on to let people know where you went, but you’re no longer there for them to come and find you.  

Before snapping a selfie to send off to the web, check your background. This goes for more than just your dirty socks lying on the floor. Some things in pictures can be directly identifiable to you, for instance, taking a picture outside your home could lead people to know where you live, or sharing an image of your child outside their school, or even just in their school uniform, could let strangers know where they go to school.

If your child uses a smartphone, ensure that you have a conversation with them about the importance of taking “safe selfies”. Let them know that once they share an image, it is online forever. It should also be acknowledged that not every parent is okay with having their child online, so you need to let your child know that if they are going to share any pictures that have their friends in them, they must first ask permission to share a picture of their friend online.

By making a few small changes to the way you take and share pictures, you can help protect yourself and your family when sharing images online.