We all know that the internet can be a very dangerous place for kids and most of us provide limits on what our young children can and cannot do while online. We teach them about never giving out their real name or the name of their school, but how many moms release specific factual information about their kids, family and home on Twitter?
If you’re like most, you can probably think of at least one friend who tweets her whereabouts each day, or talks about her schedule identifying where she will be that day. Some even announce when they are leaving on vacation…and where they are going!
Without moms realizing it, when they tweet this type of personal information, they are setting themselves and their kids up for danger.
No only will predators have access to your information, but so will online thieves,
It goes without saying how dangerous mindless or spur of the moment tweets can be in the cases of divorce, custody and domestic abuse.
The Huffington Post lists 12 things you should never tweet about and while most of the information is obvious, like don’t tweet about office gossip, risky behavior (think insurance companies) and racy photos, some of these very actions have landed people in jail, without a job, and with no insurance. Some of the don’ts that parents find themselves doing include the following:
Kids names and daily routines
Most moms are careful about not naming their children online but a whole lot aren’t. Even if they identify their school mascot, a quick Google search can return the specific school, the address, and a map. A predator only needs to find a name on a photo or in a comment under the photo to be able to identify a child. Parents should leave all kids’ names out of their Twitter feeds, and never tweet about where the children get picked up or dropped off each day.
I noticed on my Facebook feed that some of my friends’ current locations were showing up throughout the day, as in “Sally checked in to Joe Schmoe’s bar” and I found that really peculiar. Why would someone advertise they were checking into a bar?
Worse than that, after a few days, without even trying I had grown accustomed to this friend’s work schedule and after hours activity simply because it popped up on my newsfeed daily.
Then I read about how easily that can happen:
Some smartphones automatically embed geolocation data into your photos, and you may not realize how much private data you’re revealing with a simple snapshot. According to PrivacyRights.org, “Your real-time location may indicate your home and work addresses, your commuting patterns, what religious institution you visit, how often you go to a doctor, political rallies you attend or whether you are seeking the advice of a lawyer.”
Facebook and Twitter were perhaps meant to be a social experience but they have also evolved into necessities for work. For those compelled to constant tweeting, there is a way to protect your tweets so that only approved Twitter followers can see them, but if you utilize these social networks for work, you will probably have many people on your follower list. Odds are you don’t personally know many of them. The best bet is to make a personal account and another account solely for work.
So while we might love to share our family news with close friends and family, the best way is probably the old fashioned way, pick up a phone and call them. Save the social networks for just that — networking.