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Police stress safe social media practices from parents, students this school year

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Going back to school can be a fun and exciting time that parents may want to share with friends and relatives with pictures on social media. But, police warn you to think twice.

The “About Me” and “Back to School” boards have become quite popular in the last few years on social media platforms, but they can give away too much information about your child.

Captain Jason Kidd with Harrisonburg Police Department says your child’s teacher and school should not be posted on the web. General information like hobbies could also pose safety hazards.

“Be careful posting about what your kids’ favorite hobbies are and things that could be used by a stranger to build rapport with them,” Kidd said.

He mentioned that sharing this information could “make a stranger seem like a friend [to young children] when they are not.”

For teens and young adults with their own phones and social media accounts, he cautions them about talking to people online they do not know in real life.

“If it sounds too good, it probably is, so don’t have that communication,” Kidd advises.

He also said never make it known if you’re home alone.

Two simple but not foolproof ways to protect yourself and your children are to use privacy settings and double-check before you post.

“Privacy settings are important,” Kidd said. “But just because your account is set to where you think you’re only posting to friends, that’s not always the case. Who’s to say your friends won’t repost something you post? Know your background. Make sure your home address is not in the background. Know what you’re posting and who you’re posting to.”

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