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Social Safety Reminders for Those of Us Who Should Know Better

In the wake of our recent kids’ digital safety overview and collection of tips, we felt it time to share a few safety tips that may help even the most digitally engaged of us. After a glimpse into our own friends and family networks, we’ve spotted a few key reminders important to us all. Whether it be your hyper-Facebooking Auntie, or that old high school buddy from the days of yore obsessed with Instagram stories, these tips are definitely share-worthy:

35 Questions That Expose Your Secrets

Have you seen those questionnaires or surveys on Facebook — the quirky surveys that ask you to share your first dog’s name or your high school mascot? Believe it or not, but these are keys for obtaining passwords.

While your friends are generally NOT looking to swipe your personal details, there are those in the world who will take advantage of lax privacy settings. Keep this in mind next time you’re tempted to copy/paste with your own personal intricacies.

Beef Up Your Security

Whether you’re connecting to wifi at home or tapping into an open wifi network on vacation, make sure to actively improve your password settings. It’s not difficult for people to park in front of your home and hack into your wifi. Also, the concept of “nothing is free” definitely applies to open wifi. Criminals can easily pull simple passwords or tap into your phone’s data.

We recommend long passwords (10+ characters) that include upper and lower case changes, numbers, and symbols. Tired of managing dozens of passwords? Look into password manager systems. They’re relatively inexpensive and incredibly helpful.

Over-Share Warnings

Using social media to publicize events, places, and activities to your friends and local community is becoming the norm. From the Nextdoor app to Facebook and Airbnb, we’ve seen many people forgo privacy for purpose. Remember:

  • Passive aggressive posts on Nextdoor can become active aggression if you forget that your location is auto-set to public upon joining. Change your settings for more privacy.
  • Social advertising of your cute Airbnb may get you more than renters, but also criminals looking to break in when the place is empty.
  • Selling your belongings on Facebook Market? Be thoughtful with how you publicize pick-up, or you may end up with your address living publicly online for a lot longer than you intend.
  • Hosting the community’s annual Chili Cook-Off at your house? Think twice about how you intend to make your destination visible to the outside world.
  • Each time your post on Facebook, the platform both tags and references your location (unless corrected or engaging the opt-out). Keep that in mind when you’re lament-posting about your sick-in-bed workday illness… from Disneyland.
  • Google your name often. Data-bots crawling the web, White Pages, and credit cards sell or post your data with little-to-no notice. If you find yourself and your address on a site you do have the ability to request a “removal” from their privacy policy.

Photos & Geo-Locating

Photo-sharing apps and sites add geo-locations to your photos, either visibly or within code. Sharing vacation photos can be an indication that you’re presently not at home. Be smart with your privacy settings, geo-tags, and your vacation declarations.

It is important to add a special note about Snapchat, which recently launched Snap Map. This feature allows you to attach your photos to locations on a public map, which then groups all photos of people together. This means, if your teen has enabled this feature and posts his/her activity from Six Flags or festivities at the river, your teen’s immediate location is accessible and navigable by every person accessing that feature in the region. This is a security and privacy risk.

There are so many fun activities and places to share with your networks this summer, just please make sure you’re cognizant of security practices, access points, and how you’re sharing information digitally.

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Talk Back

Posted on July 11, 2017

I’m the horrible mom who doesn’t allow her kids to have SnapChat or Facebook for many of the reasons listed above. Even if you take all the precautions, best to maintain an open dialog with your kids about the “scary internet.”

Get On Your Soapbox