location services risksUsing smartphone apps, especially social media apps, increases location services risks when this feature is enabled. Marketing companies pay money to use this information to advertise location-relevant information directly to you.

Social Media Location Services Risks

For apps like Foursquare, Facebook or Twitter, however, the location services risks include automatic publishing of your location information online, which is likely permanent and searchable. This could leave you, your home, or your family vulnerable by allowing others to know when you aren’t home or where you’re planning to be.

How You Can Reduce Your Risks

  • You can reduce your risks by disabling these features for social media apps, or all apps altogether. Note that disabling this feature for all apps severely limits your functionality for things like GPS or tracking other family members.
  • Don’t allow location services to tag photos of your children or your house.
  • Create a separate list of trusted friends on social media and adjust your settings to only share with those on the list.
  • Disable the option that allows others to tag you or “check-in” for you at public places.
  • Change the settings for location data so that it’s not publicly searchable or available.
  • Be smart about when you “check-in” to places and be careful about linked social media and blog accounts that may share this kind of information. Does it create more risk than benefit? If yes, consider skipping the “check-in”.
  • For your kids, disable their ability to “check-in” to places unless you feel they are mature enough to be smart about it.

Rule of thumb is to be smart about the location information you share. Always consider your home, your family and yourself when implementing location services boundaries.

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