OK, so normally I don’t write about anything Kardashian.
However, the recent (and terrifying) armed robbery of Kim Kardashian is a reminder of the scary fact that anyone can be found at any time. And not always by the people we want to find us.
Perhaps no one in the world is more visible than Kim Kardashian. She’s made a living from showing us her each and every move. Where she’s going, who she’s with, what she’s wearing, and what she’s doing. A quick click on her Twitter or Instagram and you can keep up with Kim.
And so can bad guys.
In case you missed it, Kim was staying in Paris over the weekend when armed robbers burst into her hotel room, held her up at gunpoint and made off with millions in jewelry.
Fortunately Kim was not harmed, but it must have been a traumatic experience. (I was mugged a few years ago and I know it is).
In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to be completely invisible. However, you don’t have to make it easy for people to find you.
While most of us don’t have millions of people interested in our daily lives, it still is a good policy to monitor your family’s social presence.
The following are a few simple, but sometimes overlooked, steps to protect your family privacy online.
How to Protect Your Family Privacy Online
Don’t share your current location
- Turn off location services on your phone for any app where it is not absolutely required (like Navigation or Maps). On an iPhone, go to “Settings” -> “Privacy” -> “Location”. This will allow you to approve or deny permission for each individual app. On an Android device, go to “Settings” -> “Location” for general location settings or “Settings” -> “Apps” -> (gear symbol) -> “App Permissions” -> “Location”.
- Disable location sharing on social media. For Facebook, this is done through your phone or mobile device’s location settings (see above). Do not use “check-in” apps or services through social media.
- Remove EXIF or “metadata” from photos. EXIF data is essentially a photo’s signature or identifying characteristics that you don’t see on the photo itself, but are transmitted with the photo digitally. This often includes the GPS location of where a photo was taken. This tutorial shows you how to remove EXIF and metadata.
Don’t post vacation photos until later
There are two reasons for this:
- You don’t want anyone and everyone to know where you are at all times.
- If people know you are out of town, they also know your house is likely empty and vulnerable.
Instead of sharing travel photos in real time, create a vacation album when you return and make sure it is clearly labeled as POST-trip. #LATERGRAM
Limit identifiers in photos or posts about your kids
Obviously as a blogger, I share family photos often. However, many bloggers like myself choose to use nicknames for our children online.
It’s also a good idea to be careful about what is visible in photos with your children. Certain things like the school sign in the background can give people an idea of where to find your kids…even when they’re not at home. This article from JDaniel4’s Mom details the Back-to-School (and year-round) photos you might want to avoid.
Monitor your kid’s internet and social media use
Fortunately, my girls are still way too young to be online or on social media. However, my oldest daughter definitely knows what Facebook and Instagram are, and not just because she lives with a blogger. I’ve seen kids at my daughter’s elementary school walking around after class with their own cell phones!
I believe the best way to protect our children online is to show them the responsible ways to use this technology, let them know you’re paying attention, and keep the lines of communication open. Staying involved can also help you identify signs of bullying.
When you decide your teen is ready for social media access:
- Create firm boundaries for internet and social media use, like time limits and only using phones and computers in family areas under supervision (not kids bedrooms).
- Talk about the dangers of online predators and set firm boundaries for appropriate contact online.
- Set their profiles to private and make sure they keep them that way.
- Teach them about information that is not appropriate to share, like their address and phone number.
- Let them know they can always come to you when they are worried or if they have questions. You are a safe place to talk and you’re there to help.
Like anything else in life, there are no guarantees, but it is always smart to be prepared. Our kids are growing up in a world that is more connected than ever before, but they still need our guidance. These tips are the first steps to help protect your family privacy online.
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Lawyer Hussein Chahine. Mr. Chahine has worked with many clients to help keep their privacy confidential. Visit his website here.