Parents have a right to be concerned about the security of their children, especially when using online tools. Many parents should understand why it is unsafe to reveal certain information on social networking sites, like Facebook, Tagged, or Flickr. Then, they should educate their children about this. This is because some parents do not realize that what their children post on such sites could actually compromise their own security or that of their home. It is important for parents to frequently check the online profiles of their children and examine the information that they have revealed. Any questionable information should be promptly deleted. It is also important to speak with kids about why it’s important to take such actions. Most preteens or teens will understand, so parents do not have to worry about invading their privacy.
Revealing Details Online
For parents, a good course of action is to set up rules about what details are safe or unsafe to reveal on the internet. When there is a clear outline of the information that is not safe to disclose, then children will be more likely to comply. Why is this important? According to security reports, many thieves and burglars that have been caught have admitted that they first received information about a home or homeowner from a Facebook profile. Police departments around the nation have also reported that social networking sites aid criminals in getting more details about targets or victims. Hence, such online tools have contributed to increasing the number of criminal activities.
It is, therefore, important to safeguard security by keeping certain details private. Here is a brief and by no means exhaustive list of information that children should keep off of their profiles.
1. Vacation Plans
While it may be exciting to take a vacation, instruct your teen to never reveal when the entire family will be away from home. There will be plenty of time to post pics and status updates after you have returned. In addition, you may want to instruct them to avoid posting updates while they are on vacation as this can tip thieves off to the fact that you are not home. Many opportunists will peruse profiles looking for such information. Once they have determined that the family is away, they will break in and take your valuables. Housebreakers even attack residences equipped with security monitoring devices because they are pretty confident that there’s no one home. So, do yourself and your kids a favor and have a discussion about not posting vacation plans.
2. Expensive Gifts or Purchases
Many teens become excited when their parents purchase an expensive item, and they want to quickly share this information with their friends. Explain to your children that it is not a good idea to advertise your wealth online. Not only is it tacky, but it is also a great way to invite thieves into your home. Do not create an inventory of your expensive worldly possessions. Yes, you might be itching to make others feel envious of your pricey new car or jewelry. But keep in mind that if you post a list of all of your costly goods or possessions, this will readily attract burglars.
3. Personal Information
Kids have no understanding of just how valuable their personal information is to others. Instruct them to never give out their home address or cell phone number. In addition, credit card companies and banks require security questions. The answers to these questions can often be figured out by checking out the profile of a person. While most teens do not have bank accounts or credit cards, it is a good idea to help them develop the habit of keeping their personal information private for their own safety and that of their family.
Claire Walsh writes for a number of home security companies. She writes for a successful Miami home security company, and she blogs about modern security gadgets.