The Dark Side Of Sharing Photos On The Internet

There are currently over 3.7 billion people on the internet today, and around 40 percent of the world has access to the internet. The world is no longer a large place; without realizing it, we are more connected than we have ever been before. This is why it is so important to be conscious of images we share on the internet.

An Omaha woman found this out when her photo was used for a meme that went viral! When Elisabeth was in her thirties she decided to do a 365-Day Facebook Photo Challenge. This is where she took a different picture each day for one year! At the time, she never thought the pictures would be used for anything, and that no one would even see them besides her Facebook group. However, her photo was turned into a meme, and The Huffington Post also used one of her photos.

What Exactly Is A Meme?

A meme is a viral cultural symbol or social idea. It revolves around subjects and persons who are currently trending in the news. Memes use a singular photo and other people change the captions to these pictures. Each meme has its own meaning; some are funny, inspirational, political and other topics.

A common meme is from a teen who was aired on Dr. Phil:


Many of us see these on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, laugh, and keep scrolling. However, anyone can use your photo on the internet and this is what makes it the darker side of the internet.

Furthermore, besides memes there is the idea of catfishing.

What Is Catfishing?

This is a scam where someone takes a photo of a different person, and uses it as their own and tricks others into believing it is them. This has created a problem with privacy issues and people never knowing who they are chatting with on the internet. When profiles are open to the public it makes it easier of this to happen. Often times, these people are making these new profiles to lure other in a relationship or something more dangerous.

It is important for each person using the internet to know that what they share is open for the rest of the world to see.

Here are some tips for responsible sharing of photos on the internet:

  • Think before you post: Once something is posted online you won’t be able to know who is viewing this image. Some points to think about are,
    • Who will be viewing this photo?
    • How many people can see this?
    • Does the other person in the photo want me to share this?
  • Privacy settings: It is important to make all your social media profiles private. Once your profile is private, make sure your “about me,” section is anonymous as well.  The founder of Smart Girl Society talks about Instagram and how the “about me” section could be giving personal details away.
  • Geo-location: There is an ability on social media apps to share your location;however, this should be turned off. This makes it easy for people to know where you like to hangout, go to school, your favorite restaurant and more.

There is always a risk when sharing photos online. The United States Department of Homeland Security will soon be looking at social media accounts. They will be using search history to keeps tabs on a number of different topics. It is important to know who is viewing your pictures and be conscious of what you’re posting out onto the internet. Once a picture is shared on the internet, it is "out there" forever.

Social media is a great way to interact with others. But with all great things comes risks.

At Smart Girl Society, we offer workshops and tips for parents and educators and teens. We also have resource pages set up for parents, educators, and teens.

If you have any concerns or questions about social media, contact us today!


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