Police ask parents to be cautious with “first day of school” pictures

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 8:06 PM CDT
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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - With the start of school right around the corner, families are getting ready to take -- and share -- their annual first day of school photos.

But the Grand Chute Police Department says those photos can come back to hurt you if you share too much information.

Everyone loves seeing those first day of school photos on their timeline.

“It’s great. It’s a milestone,” a mom in Appleton, Deb Heller, says. “It highlights something that we really enjoy. It marks the beginning of a new journey.”

“I love it. It’s such a creative way to say, ‘hey, this is what’s going on in my home,” says Rebecca Baker, a grandmother.

But recently, detailed “back to school” message boards are attracting more than just friends and family to give it a like.

“When we first started seeing this, it was just a picture of kids with their backpacks and lunch boxes, and that morphed into grade, teacher, school... all that stuff,” Grand Chute Police Department Community Resource Officer Travis Waas said.

Grand Chute police are warning people to think before they post.

“It’s important when you post online to keep that personal information to a minimum. Everyone knows this, but when you post online you lose control of that information,” Waas said.

Even including simple facts like your favorite color can help scammers and predators immensely.

Waas says, as a predator might say, “‘I know you! Your favorite color is blue, and you like doughnuts, and your birthday is April 25. I know your mom!’ and it builds this false sense of security with this person that really should not be around your child.”

Heller reacted, “It’s scary. It’s upsetting that something so sweet and made from the heart can be turned around and used for something so nefarious.”

Waas says to be safe, refrain from sharing your child’s last name, grade, school, teacher’s name, and possible security questions. Stick to the basics.

“I think it’s up to us to think before we share something. Is this something that could be used against my child if it got into the wrong hands? And we have to always assume that it can get into the wrong hands,” said Waas.

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