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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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YOUNG PEOPLE ASK

What Should I Know About Online Photo Sharing?

You’re having a great vacation, and you want to tell your friends all about it! But how? Will you

  1. send each one a postcard?

  2. write an e-mail to all your friends?

  3. post photos online?

When your grandparents were your age, “A” was probably the only option.

When your parents were your age, “B” may have been a possibility.

Today, many young people who are allowed to post photos online prefer option “C.” Do you? If so, this article will help you avoid a few pitfalls.

 What are the benefits?

It’s immediate. “When I’ve had an awesome trip or a great time with friends, I can share photos of the experience while I’m still excited about it.”—Melanie.

It’s convenient. “It’s a lot easier to look through photo updates that my friends have posted than to use e-mail to find out what’s happening with them.”—Jordan.

It helps you stay in touch. “Some of my friends and family live far away. If they post pictures often and I check often, it’s as if I see them every day!”—Karen.

 What are the dangers?

You can put your safety at risk. If your camera has geotagging, your posted pictures might reveal more than you intend. “Posting photos and other media tagged with exact geolocation on the Internet allows random people with the right tracking software and wrong motives to find an individual’s location,” reports the website Digital Trends.

Of course, some criminals are more concerned with where you are not. In one case reported by Digital Trends, three burglars broke into 18 homes while everyone was out. How did they know that no one would be home? They went online and tracked the movements of the residents—a technique called cybercasing—and made off with more than $100,000 (U.S.) worth of goods.

You can come across offensive content. Some people have no shame in posting anything for the world to see. A teenager named Sarah says: “The trouble comes when you browse through the accounts of people you don’t know. It’s like walking through an unfamiliar city without a map. You’re almost certain to end up in a place you didn’t want to go.”

Your time can slip away. “It’s easy to get caught up in viewing the latest posts and reading everyone’s comments,” says a young woman named Yolanda. “You can get to the point where you pull out your phone every spare second just to see what’s new.”

You need self-control if you have a photo-sharing account

A teenager named Samantha would agree. “I have to regulate the amount of time I spend on these sites,” she says. “You really need self-control if you’re going to have a photo-sharing account.”

 What you can do

  • Be determined to avoid objectionable content. The Bible says: “I will not set anything worthless before my eyes.”Psalm 101:3.

    “I regularly check the posts of those I’m following, and I unfollow them if I feel that their content is inappropriate.”—Steven.

  • Avoid contact with people who do not share your values, since they can undermine your moral defenses. The Bible says: “Do not be misled. Bad associations corrupt good morals.”1 Corinthians 15:33, footnote.

    “Don’t follow photo trends just because they’re popular. Often, that’s where you will come across profanity, nudity, and other offensive content.”—Jessica.

  • Set limits on how long you will browse and how often you will post photos. The Bible says: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, making the best use of your time.”Ephesians 5:15, 16.

    “I’ve unfollowed people who are ‘overposters.’ For example, someone goes to the beach and posts 20 pictures of the same shell. Really? It takes too much time to browse through all those photos!”—Rebekah.

  • Make sure the photos you post don’t give the impression that it’s all about you. The Bible writer Paul says: “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think.” (Romans 12:3) Don’t assume that your friends will be captivated by photos of you and your activities.

    “Some people post endless selfies. If we’re friends, I know what you look like—I don’t need constant reminders!”—Allison.