Experts warn of potentially dangerous back-to-school chalkboard social media trend

Posted at 8:50 PM, Aug 19, 2021

(WXYZ) — The chalkboard trend is a few years old, and it might seem like a cute way to mark the milestone of a new year for students. But, it also can be too much, says Michigan State Cyber Security Expert Professor Thomas Holt.

"If you are posting pictures posting a lot of detail about your kid's school schedule, their full name, who their teacher is, things like that. The more information you put out about them in public spaces. The easier it is for someone to pretend to know them."

Parents can also be tricked into thinking their social media page is safe. The reason? because they are only posting it to their private accounts, thinking it's only visible to those who they are friends with but guess again, "The hardest thing to remember is once you put something out there, it is out of your control," added Holt.

People can download those images and use them for whatever they want, and with a chalkboard or blackboard, it is easy for someone to photoshop over and put their own message on the board.

Here are some tips that you can use to make the posting a little more discreet without sharing all the information:

-Don't share their school's name. It can be easily looked up online.
-Don't share their teacher's name which can be easily looked up in a staff directory
-Don't share their favorites such as activities or food because that can be used to gain trust by a predator who might seem like they are a family friend and not a stranger.

We caught up with a couple of parents today to get their thoughts on this trend.

"I think it's dangerous, especially because things have gotten a lot more sophisticated. So people can track where their kids are, especially if they have social media pages. You know everyone wants to put pictures out there and be seen. I think it's okay just to put hey the first day of school!" said Tori-Ann Bright.

"Whenever you put something on social media, I think it should be doublethink it for sure before it's posted. You know everybody has their own opinion so definitely absolutely double think everything," said Michael Tortomose.

Professor Thomas Holt also wants to remind parents to keep it simple. Just put their grade and put the detailed one in an old-school photo album for you and your family's eyes only.