Social Media and Holiday Safety

December 22, 2014

Social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have posts that discuss regular, mundane activities to life’s little victories, to tragedies and more.

Most of us don’t think twice about telling our Facebook friends about the amazing vacation that we are planning- where we are going, who we are going with, and how long we will be gone.

But police don’t think that’s a good idea.

When you post about your vacation plans, you are letting potential thieves know when the best time might be to burglarize your home.

Talking about that amazing vacation that you’re enjoying in Hawaii for ten days gives people everything they need- and consider that most people also list the city they live in, or give clues in other posts- not to mention that unless the settings are changed, Facebook and Instagram automatically attach a map to the photos you post. So those pictures of your dog in the back yard, or your beautiful garden, or the snowman that your children built, give thieves exactly what they need. Through social media sites they would know your name, where you live, when you’ll be gone, where you’re going, and how long you will be gone.

 

An insurance survey shows that 14% of homeowners do use social media to post updates, share photos, and check-in to various locations while they’re away. According to an article in Time Magazine, about 78% of burglars now use social media to choose the location of their next break-in. That’s a scary statistic.

 

What can you do?

 

  • As much as you want to brag about your amazing beach vacation- resist making the announcement on social media.

  • Go into your social media accounts and disable to location-identifying settings.

  • Change your Facebook tagging settings- Make it so that you have to approve photos that others take and tag you in. You can allow all of those photos after you return from vacation

  • While on vacation, don’t check-in, or post about your vacation.

  • If you are a blogger, write your experiences down while on vacation, but don’t publish until after you’ve returned home.

 

Some take these tips and apply them to the week long, out of state vacations- but these tips also apply to the overnight trip to grandma’s house in the next city over. In general, it’s just a good idea to be aware of what we are putting on social media. We are in a world full of readily available information- think about what information you are giving out. 

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