301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

8.21.22 – THV11 – CONWAY COUNTY, Ark.

As the school year approaches, Arkansas law enforcement wants to share ways to keep your child safe before posting first day of school pictures.

The end of August means it’s almost time for kids to head back to school. Not only is this season a busy time for children and parents, but it’s also a busy time of the year for officers with the Conway County Sheriff’s Office.

For many students, that first bell is a sign that the new school year is beginning, and Deputy Miranda Trafford said the ringing of the bell is always a good reminder for her too. 

She’s excited for students to head back to school, and said that back-to-school time is always very busy but exciting. 

“It’s an exciting time,” Trafford said. “Safety on the road, safety online, safety within the school, making sure everybody’s accounted for, everybody’s being safe.”

Safety doesn’t just start when students get to school or even when they’re on their way there. It starts with something many parents do on the first day- take pictures of their students.

“We want parents to be cautious with the information they put out there because there are predators and there are schemes and there are thieves that are awaiting the opportunity to take advantage of people,” Trafford explained.

Many parents post pictures of their kids on boards that share information like their teacher, their school, their favorite color, etc. Trafford added that there’s a lot of information on there that those with bad intentions could use in the wrong way.

“I would put just my name, my first name, and I would put what I wanted to be when I grow up,” Trafford said. “The parents know the rest, just redact what you don’t want social media to have.”

The Conway County Sheriff’s Office shared this post as an example of what they suggest you should, and should not do. 

On it, you can see things like a grade, a teacher, the name of the school and even identifying things about the deputy – Trafford said to take precautions and that people shouldn’t post any of that to social media.

“That’s just a lot of information to be putting out there to strangers,” she said.

Various law enforcement agencies across the country have also shared similar tips.

The FBI has also encouraged online safety, though their tips are more overarching.

While they also stressed that people should not post sensitive information online, they also recommend that everyone update their devices and not click any links that may seem suspicious. If someone s being exploited, they said to call them at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Trafford wants to make it clear that you can absolutely post first day of school pictures, but to remember to be smart when posting them.

“You can post the picture, you can use social media for your memories, just don’t put the school they’re going to and how old they are, and you know, all that identifying things on there,” she said. “Be cautious.”