Families – Stop Broadcasting Your Whereabouts For All To SeeBy Child Safety Specialist Apr 11, 2011 | 10:10:00 amPosted in: Family
On every playground, at every dance recital and soccer game and even in the hospital nursery, proud parents are using their smart phones to capture every moment of their child’s life. There’s no problem with that, as long as you’re keeping those precious moments for private use. But we’ve become a society of oversharing. Every photo immediately goes up on Facebook for the entire world to see. While most people are a bit savvier now about keeping personal information such as addresses and phone numbers off social media sites, they’re less aware that many photos they post allow someone to know exactly where they are when the photo was taken.
That’s right, every smart phone has the ability to “geotag” a photo which means that the exact longitudinal and latitudinal points of your location can be seen by everyone. If you don’t see that this could be a problem consider several scenarios:
• Your teenage daughter, who posts everything she does on Facebook, has a silent stalker -- someone who might have seen her at her after-school job or at a school function. By viewing her photos with geotags, he will know exactly where she lives, hangs out and parties. It wouldn’t take long for him to know her daily routine and her every move.
• You’re heading out for vacation and post a photo of your family getting ready to leave. You have just told any number of people on the Internet not only that you’re leaving but the exact address of your house.
• You’re the “team photographer” for your son’s Little League team. You post photos of the games and include all team members because they have signed a permission slip. The photos posted to the website or Facebook page can tell a non-custodial parent the exact location of their child at a particular time. Keep in mind that more than 350,000 family abductions occur in the U.S. each year, that’s nearly 1,000 per day.
There are many social media sites out there today that use geotagging without you even knowing, or without you even thinking that they are there. For example, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Skype, etc. all have GPS location devices in their applications. You can however, disable geotagging so check with your cellular phone company.
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