This isn’t just about keeping your children cybersafe….this warning applies to us all. Geotagging and Facebook statuses can reveal frighteningly too much information and place us all in danger!
Geotagging refers to the practice of adding location information – like GPS coordinates – to different types of media, such as photos. The location information is embedded in a way that is not visible. There are many ways to make geotags visible, so that they can reveal the embedded location information. In almost every smartphone, there is a built-in GPS. For every picture you take with that phone, it will automatically embed the latitude and longitude within the photograph.
So using your smart phone, you photograph your child: at school, in the park, at home, at Grandad’s and post the pics on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram. Unwittingly you are leaving clear traceable footprints. You might add a comment – ‘Josh at Grandad Jones – every Sunday for dinner’. With easily obtainable software Josh can be located to his street address, to the park he plays in, and to Grandad Jones’. Unthinkingly you’ve revealed his name and possibly his surname. Now it is also known that you are out every Sunday night! Imagine what information like this in the wrong hands could be used for. And consider this – it is really only the ‘wrong hands’ who are looking for this sort of information.
Facebook Status refers to the action of adding a comment on your Facebook page. Teens and some adults constantly update their Facebook Status. Examples of a Facebook Status:
Loving One Dimension right now at Hisense Arena!
Mum and Dad out to dinner….house to myself….YAY!!!!
In Cairns with whole family for a week……bliss! Not!
Waiting for Mum to pick me up from the movies…it’s dark!
A Facebook status could in effect be advertising to whoever reads your wall where you are, what you are doing, if you are at home or not, who you are with, if you are alone. Take the 15 old who wrote: “Mum and Dad out to dinner…house to myself…..yay’, and then uploads a photograph of herself blobbing in front the television. Immediately she has told the world that she is alone and her address can be geotagged from the photo.
Luckily, you can disable geotagging on Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices by turning off location tracking in the operating systems’ Settings. You can also ensure that your privacy settings are on, onall your social media sites.
But for some reason, people don’t. We lock our doors, and set the alarm but we forget how easily traceable we are when we communicate on in the internet.