Social Media has become one of the most common ways through which teenagers and children communicate with each other. From Snapchat to Facebook and more, our children are sharing their personal information on social media more than ever before.
A recent Choosi survey revealed that 85.8% of respondents are concerned about their online security and privacy but only 54.4% are always careful about posting personal information on social media.
We spoke to Ruth Dearing, Peaceful Digital Parenting expert, and mother of two, who wrote the #1 international best-seller, ‘How to Keep Your Children Safe Online’. Ruth tells us the top five types of social media posts your child should avoid posting online to protect their privacy and safety.
‘Checking-in’ To Your Current Location
Applications like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can make posts location-specific. In other words, a geo-tag or a check-in is a function that uses the GPS on your mobile phone to let people know your exact location. You can also tag any friends that you are with at the time. It’s important that you explain to your children that ‘checking-in’ can give predators or thieves important information concerning their whereabouts.
You can also educate your child about how they can turn off location services for certain applications using their phone settings. To make sure their friends don’t check your child in on their Facebook posts, you can disable the “Friends can check me in to Places” setting in your child’s privacy settings on Facebook.
Photos of Personal Documents
From their passports to their driver’s license, remind your teens that they should not be posting any photos that expose their personal information online. Posting images of personal documents can put your child at a high risk of identity fraud.
Fraudsters would have enough information from a passport or a driver’s license to open bank accounts, obtain loans, credit cards and goods in your child’s name which could affect their personal finances later in life.
Photos Regarding Travel Plans or When on Holiday
Airplane tickets contain a goldmine of information including your date of birth and your home address; it can all be found in the barcode printed on your flight ticket. Remind your children that this information can be dangerous if leaked and should never be revealed.
It’s also important to ensure that they are not revealing information like their travel itineraries. Predators or thieves present in the areas they are traveling to may find these useful if they are looking to target people at random. The same goes for when posting photos on holiday. Encourage your child to post their holiday snaps once they’ve returned home safely.
Photos of Valuables
Posting photos of valuables or talking about valuables such as boats, cars, jewellery, technology etc on social media is a definite no-no.
Along with their personal safety, it can also endanger your family home. Sharing pictures of expensive valuables that also show your home’s interior can let burglars know what your home looks like, how the furniture is arranged, what valuables are inside and whereabouts they will be able to find them. Thieves are likely to use these types of photos to plan a route for breaking-in.
Inappropriate Images on Snapchat and Disappearing Texts
A growing number of children use Snapchat and other platforms to send a photo or text that self-destructs after 1-10 seconds. This makes sharing photos seem safe however that is far from the case.
Back-up software ensures that every photo taken by the user is saved on their device and immediately backed up on to cloud storage platforms. This means that even if your child is smart enough to delete the photos off their phone, a copy will still exist in their cloud. If their cloud is hacked or accessed by a third-party, these photos can be exploited. Their friends can also screen shot photos your child has sent to them before the photo disappears. Therefore, it’s important that your child knows not to send inappropriate photos or texts on these platforms.
Equipping your child with the knowledge they need to make the right decisions will ensure they think before they act on social media, which in turn will keep their privacy and safety protected.