Summer is Around the Corner
Can you smell the ocean air? Summer time is a popular time to travel and with the kids out of school, it’s a great time to review an important cyber safety rule for the entire family.
Sharing Your Adventures
It’s exciting to share your upcoming vacation plans or tag yourself at famous locations in your social network, but keep in mind that you may be oversharing. Generally, it’s safer to share details about your trip (dates away, places of stay) AFTER you get back. Why? Well, we’re not always careful about who we let into our online social circles. Worse still, if you have a public profile or public blog, ANYONE can see that you’re not home and target your house or see where you are currently and find you in real life.
There are exceptions to every rule. You can feel safer sharing information about your trip if you are sure your network is limited to a trusted group of people (AKA on a private profile where you’ve recently reviewed your contacts – more on this below). A recent study showed that about 64% of Americans DON’T set their social profiles to private. Some social networking sites allow you to share content only with certain people like family members or close friends. If your home is protected with a monitoring system, you may also feel safer sharing that you are not home.
Review Social Profiles
You can extend this reminder moment with your family to include reviewing social media profiles. Perhaps when you created your social media accounts a decade or more ago, your friend circle was completely different. Maybe as a high school or college student you accepted friend requests from anyone and everyone or left your profile public. Now, as an adult with children, you may have become more concerned with your privacy and that of your children’s. Take the time to review connections on personal (vs. professional) profiles and drop people you don’t know well.
Additionally, social media companies like Facebook and Instagram have changed algorithms over the years and this may have left previously private posts exposed. Make it a habit to review your social media profiles regularly to be sure your privacy is protected as you expect.
Make sure your kids’ social profiles are private and that they meet the age limit restrictions for each app. A good rule is to not allow connections they do not know in real life. After all, you can’t be sure who is actually behind the keyboard.
Talk to your kids about what they like to share online and let them know that they can always mute or block rude people. Remind them that they should never share (or even take!) intimate pictures of themselves and to let you know if they’ve received that type of request from anyone. As with all facets of parenting, communication is the key.