In this Internet age of immediate access, convenience is everything. Whether you are buying a last minute birthday gift online, finding an old friend, or just catching a ride home in a strangers sedan, we have grown dependent on one little tool that lives inside every smartphone; Location Services. However, the location services setting can give away personal information when enabled on specific mobile apps. Knowing when to disable the setting can help protect your family and your own personal information, you wouldn’t normally give out to a perfect stranger.
What is Location Services?
Location services is a setting on every smartphone (and most wireless devices) that can help you navigate your way to and from home, find you great restaurants nearby or pinpoint the nearest Uber Driver. It can also help you stay in shape in connection with tracking gadgets like fitbit that measure your resting heartbeat and jogging history.
Parents often use applications like friend locator and life360 to be constantly aware of where their children are. These “find my friend” apps apply strict approval rules, allowing the user to create family and friends groups. By giving the user full control, the location services settings can be a great tool to allow family members to stay connected and safe.
The popular social app Snapchat, is one of those places where young kids tend to give out a little too much personal information. Recently the makers of Snapchat added a “Snap Map” feature, that could be used by online predators in a way that could cause harm to young kids using the app. This map could allow complete strangers to “Friend” young teenagers and then view their exact location.
Practicing Safe Location Services Settings:
It’s good practice to disable location services and approve each app on a case by case basis.
Keep an updated list of the apps, online games and social media pages your children are using. Only allow them access if you are a “friend” on each app to allow you to carefully monitor their friends are or who they chat with.
Always turn off location data and EXIF data on the smartphone’s camera setting (For all family members)
Activate high privacy settings for all apps and social media apps, so only known friends can view content like photos and posts.
Install monitoring software on your children’s mobile devices (and computers). Communicate with each of your children so they know you are not spying on them, you just want to be on the lookout for online predators so they will stay safe online and in real world. Honesty is the best policy.