In Dr Seuss’ timeless tale, the Grinch had to wait until all of Whoville was asleep, tie his dog to a sled and slink down a few too-tight chimneys in order to steal Christmas from the Whos. In 2013, all a savvy criminal needs to do is follow your kids on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Foursquare, Google+ and/or Snapchat to figure out when the coast is clear, Yahoo News reports.
There have been enough publicised cases (and even one insurance commercial) for most adults to know that publishing the details of your comings and goings for the world’s perusal (and approval) can lead to more than just the jealousy of a few frenemies. Yet hardly a day goes by that you can’t log into one of those services and see your “friends” talking about airport delays, creating their own vacation trip hash tags or Instagramming pictures of where they are – thereby letting the world at large know where they aren’t.
And if adults can’t resist, you know teenagers can’t.
With Facebook’s new rules allowing children under 18 to publish publicly-visible updates to the world, let alone myriad other social media services that allow your kids to brag to the virtual world about their IRL-activities, it doesn’t matter how circumspect you think you are being about your holiday travel plans if you don’t educate your kids to do the same.
So how do you get your kid to be a little more private in public? As anyone who has ever parented a teenager knows, an outright ban isn’t going to work – and any kid who is savvy with their privacy settings can lock you out even as they broadcast to the world. So here are some starting points for that conversation.
Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr and Google+ all allow users to toggle settings to make things more or less visible to the world at large (though, honestly, your kid probably isn’t using Google+). Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Vine all allow users to turn public posts on and off at will (though, if they’ve already accepted strangers as “followers” on those services, strangers can still see their posts). Talk with your kids about their privacy settings, how to set them up and who they’re sharing location information with – and how that puts their brand new Christmas gifts at risk.
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