Protection in the sun: Social media profiles come with multiple risks

Educating children and young teens about the safe use of social media is climbing higher on the list of priorities within schools and the curriculum, and it’s important that parents get involved too. Not only can parents share the use of social media with their children and explain how to protect themselves from the threats lurking online; parents can probably learn a thing or two from their children.

Generation Y consider themselves to be the most cyber savvy, so it’s likely that your children already have an excellent understanding of the technical settings on social media sites. Encourage your children to enjoy using social media sites in a responsible manner and remind them that what goes online stays online.

Explain why it’s not wise to publish your home address on social media sites, and to regularly check their privacy settings are enabled. That way, if they want to tell their friends they are off on holiday, the risk of cybercriminals monitoring your family’s movements is significantly reduced. Together, we can use and share our knowledge to use social media to our advantage and create the best user experience.

Location, location, location

Facebook enables users to share more minute detail than ever before; location-based apps encourage us to share and track our every move throughout the day. Needless to say this degree of personal information is susceptible to misuse by cybercriminals which is why informed behaviour is the only way to protect ourselves and our families.

Aside from enabling privacy settings on social media accounts, ensure that any location-based apps are disabled to avoid inadvertently disclosing your exact location to the rest of the online population. Photo apps are particularly liable to being directly connected to Geolocation technology which will post the location of each photo uploaded to the internet, so take a moment to check your settings.

Geolocation services enable marketers to target users with location-specific advertising, including special offers and tips on the best places to visit; a useful facility especially when exploring an unfamiliar city.

However, displaying every location you check-in to on your social media profile comes with multiple risks. Connecting to people with whom you have real life relationships and limiting your profile to being viewed only by them is the best way to prevent the misuse of geo-location information.

Passport, check; privacy settings, check; and I look forward to hearing about it when you arrive home!

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Bernadette Palmer MA ICM, Dip ICM has been with The Security Company (TSC) for five years as Senior Communications Consultant. Bernadette’s in-depth understanding of the communications environment and the role of security awareness within organisations has been an invaluable asset for TSC in winning business from a wide range of companies. Before working for TSC, Bernadette was the Senior Employee Communications Manager for BT Major Business, BT Business and BT Products and Services; where she managed a team of communication specialists delivering a suite of services to internal clients. Prior to this Bernadette worked as the Security Awareness Manager for BT Security for six years where she gained an invaluable insight into the world of security within organisations.