HOUSTON -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat; the list goes on and on. The number of social media sites and tools is exploding. Have you thought about how much you share on social media and what that means for your safety?
From date nights to showing off your latest gifts, oversharing now can lead to problems later.
“I think social media is amazing. You can use it to spread positivity and kindness, but it can also be very dangerous,” said Houston Blogger Madison Payne. “When we talk about dangers with social media, it's typically because people are posting things that they shouldn't or sometimes they put themselves in harm’s way because they post personal information,” said Michelle Sacks, Crime Stoppers.
About two years ago, Kim Kardashian West documented her entire trip during Paris Fashion Week and was robbed after posting a selfie of herself wearing a massive diamond ring. The risks aren't just for those in the public eye, everyone should be taking precautions on social media.
Step 1: Adjust Your Settings
“Turning off your location services on any apps, games, or cameras.
“When we post things online, sometimes this is where your address is attached to it and if kids are doing things at home and sometimes they are disclosing their address inadvertently," said Sacks.
Payne follows that rule.
“I personally protect myself on social media by not posting a location until I’ve actually already left. For example, if you see me at a restaurant I’m no longer at that restaurant. When I am Snapchatting, I will turn my phone on airplane mode, and then whenever I’ve left wherever the location is, I will turn my phone back on that way I can still post. I’m not trying to take all the fun out of it where you can't use Snapchat, but I’m still being smart about where people can see me,” Payne explained.
Step 2: Don't Advertise You're Out of Town
“If it's a family vacation and I see all of you there, then clearly you are setting yourself up because someone will see that your house is empty and you're just setting yourself up for victimization that way," Sacks said. "The other one that we see is if we have parents that post themselves out of town on a weekend getaway without their children, if you know that they have teenage kids and you don't see them anywhere in those pictures, then sometimes you can assume that they are home alone."
Hey, there's nothing wrong with a later-gram!
Step 3: Educate Yourself
Crime Stoppers has a program called the “Cyber Safety Initiative.” They talk to students in Pre-K on to 12th grade on their digital citizenship.
“We talk about not sharing too much, we talk about changing settings, we talk about some of the social consequences the legal consequences and even educationally at school,” said Sacks.
The program trains school counselors on social media safety and parents can join in too.
“A lot of us didn't grow up in this digital age, but yet we are having to stay on top of it to keep ourselves safe. We have a great presentation for not only school staff, but also parents. We give them a lot of tricks of the trade that we use,” Sacks added.
One last thing, think before you post......
“Post what you're comfortable with your 80-year-old grandmother seeing and your 5-year-old nephew seeing,” said Payne.
Social media can be fun, but let’s stay #SAFENOTSORRY!
Watch video below to see more tips on safe social media sharing