It’s almost impossible to avoid social media in the modern world. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are part of everyday life – with thousands of stories, photos or videos being posted every second. Staying safe online is more than just about cybersecurity – what you or your family post on social media could affect your physical security in your home, too. Read these social media safety tips to learn ways you can avoid compromising your safety online.
How Social Media Impacts Your Home Safety
The connection between social media and your safety is easy to overlook. Don’t be fooled by the impersonal nature of online posting – every bit of information you share is tied to your account forever. Even if you delete it, someone else could have easily saved it.
Anything you post online can reveal more information about you or your home than you intended. And once this information is available, it can be seen by dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people instantly. This is one reason it’s so important to include social media usage when talking to your child about home safety.
How Social Media Sharing Can Compromise Your Safety
It’s no surprise burglars have been using social media as a scouting tool for years. There are dozens of ways a potential victim can share information that makes it easier to target empty homes full of valuables. Here are a few ways social media can undermine your home security:
Going on Vacation
If you’re leaving for a long-term vacation, the last thing you want to do is alert potential burglars to an upcoming empty home. But if you post your travel plans before or during your trip, that’s exactly what you’re doing!
Talking about your upcoming trip online opens you up for strangers to hear about your plans. It doesn’t take much effort in the modern world to use a name to find a home address; so even if your profile doesn’t announce where you live, it can still be found.
Read our tips for protecting your home when on vacation to prevent worrying about your home security during your next family getaway.
Advertising Expensive Electronics
When you get a new TV or phone, it’s exciting. You’ll likely be tempting to share it with the world – which is exactly what you shouldn’t do. A post on social media with photos and descriptions of your new electronics is a beacon to burglars your house is worth robbing. And every detail you offer can make their job easier.
Showing off anything expensive on social media is an unfortunate way to make yourself a target. This is another situation where your privacy settings are important, too. If your friends are over and take a few pictures of your new TV, they might tag you in their own photos. Without control over being tagged, you might not be aware they’re posting about it!
The best way to protect your home valuables is with a locally-monitored alarm system. In the event of a break-in, trained operators will be able to contact you and the authorities within moments.
You probably know your phone has a GPS built-in, used for apps like Google Maps to help you navigate. But did you also know when you take a photo, it stores data, known as EXIF, in the photo itself – including GPS coordinates?
Online stalkers can easily access metadata in photos posted online to identify places you travel to, or places you currently are if you’re actively posting to social media during a trip. This is a surprising example of how you may be sharing more than you think!
Fortunately, some platforms like Facebook strip the EXIF data from an image before they’re posted. But not every social media platform does this. You also can’t know for sure whether Facebook will continue to do this in the future – policies change all the time and you often won’t be aware when they do.
Social Media Safety Tips to Keep Your Home Secure
#1 Take Advantage of Privacy Settings
The first social media safety tip is to use every privacy setting you have access to. Not every platform has the same features for protecting your privacy, but the major ones all have some tools available to you. Some examples of privacy settings are restricting your posts to only being seen by friends or requiring approval before tagging your account in other people’s posts.
Privacy settings can help you keep more control over who sees your posts, and what others can do with your account without your direct approval. With all the image and video sharing happening on social media, it’s critical you know who can see your content and when your name is being tied to others’ posts.
#2 Your Privacy Settings Aren’t Absolute
While privacy settings are helpful, remember they aren’t perfect. If you post something you only want your friends to see, they can still share it with their friends. This chain can continue until thousands of people you don’t know have seen your post.
An accidental click or even policy changes at the top level of a social media platform can also change your privacy settings without your knowledge. While you may have thought only your immediate family were seeing a post, it could be public for anyone to see.
Because of this, consider privacy settings to be just part of your social media safety planning. Never assume they’ll prevent everyone from seeing what you post.
#3 Be Careful What You Share
Instead of relying on privacy settings, the best way to protect yourself when using social media is to carefully curate the content you plan to share. Take a close look at every photo or video to ensure there is no content in it compromising you or your family’s safety. Likewise, don’t make text posts which might share too much information.
Timing is also important. If you’re on vacation, wait until you get home before you share all of your photos. Sharing daily photos and checking-in at locations abroad are just as obvious as announcing travel plans.
#4 Lock Down Your Account with a Strong Password
The best privacy settings won’t protect your information if your account is breached. Private messages and details only shared with close family will all be available to anyone who can log into your social media account.
A strong password helps prevent unknown intruders from accessing your personal account. Use combinations of letters, numbers and special characters. Also consider length – the longer your password, the less likely it is to be guessed.
#5 Restrict Social Media Usage for Your Child
Children access social media at very young ages. It’s difficult to prevent them from creating profiles on the major platforms, due to the ease of access from home computers, school computers or their mobile devices.
Teenagers and pre-teens are likely to share major events in their lives: vacations, new home gadgets and more. These all breach the security of your home and can make your family a target for burglary.
Take steps to limit your child’s social media access. Wi-Fi passwords, strict computer time and requiring access to your child’s profiles can help you prevent them from accidentally putting themselves or your family at risk.
Even if you’re at work, home automation devices like remotely-accessible security cameras can help you keep an eye on your family from afar. Read more about using home automation to improve your home security.
Link to: https://www.habitecsecurity.com/home-security/home-security-systems.php
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