Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Internet Safety & Protecting Your Child's Location

Have you seen this video that has been floating around Facebook?

Scary right? 
Now try this (if you have an iPhone):

1. Go to 'Photos'

2. At the bottom of the screen, on the left, click 'Photos' (it's highlighted in blue below).

3. If you have location services turned on for your camera, it will look like the screen shot below. It knows the street and/or place you took your pictures. You can see in mine that it even knows what terminal were we at in the airport!

4. If you turn location services off (I show you how in the tutorial below), then it doesn't have a location attached to it. 
This is what it looks like after I turned location services off:

Technology is moving at lightening speed these days; so fast it's hard to keep up with. Over the past few years an explosion of new advances has us living in a world most would have never dreamed of. Just decades ago, computers were the size of whole bedrooms and didn't even come close to doing 1/100th of what a small, 4oz iPhone does in the year 2014. Even just 10 years ago when I was finishing high school, smart phones were non-existent and texting had just started to become popular. Now, we are more easily connected to the rest of world's population than ever before. Smartphones and social media are the ways we communicate and it seems that we have already forgot what it is like to live without them. In some respects, these advances in technology have proven to be beneficial and societally productive. I mean who needs to go to a high school reunion anymore when you are already updated on the daily goings-on of everyone you graduated with through every social media outlet. For me, the best part about social media and smartphone communication is how easily I can share with family. I have a young son that I just took 2,000 miles away from where I grew up and all our family lives. It's been difficult to say the least, but with so much going on in technology these days, everyone is kept up to date on his daily antics and we can see each other whenever we want with FaceTime and Skype. Of course, it isn't the same as physically being in someone's company, but only one generation ago, none of this was possible. 

So yes, I do share a lot of Myles on the internet. I do this for three reasons: 
1. Keeping in touch/updated with family. 
2. He is my pride and joy, the love of my life really. I'm surprised daily by the things he does and it makes me happy. So of course I want to share that with the world. I mean I only plan on having one, so I have to soak up all this cutest before he's grown. 
3. I am a mommy blogger. Let's be real, who would want to read a blog and become invested in someone who is primarily a mommy blogger, if they never see any pictures of their children? 

One of my favorite bloggers Mandi wrote a post not too long ago titled My Kids & The Internet: my sentiments exactly. I agree with her that privacy doesn't really exist on the internet. No matter what settings you use or how careful you are, it can all be found. The question then becomes: "What information are you comfortable with someone finding?"

As all of these new forms of communication unfold, we have a lot of lessons to be learned. Looking back on my Facebook, I am embarrassed by some of the things I shared with the world. Luckily, I never exposed too much, but I have learned over time that people do not need to know about the drama going on in my life. Most things are better left between only the parties involved. Celebrities are blasted for things they post on social media, normal, everyday people are fired for inappropriate conduct that they thought was necessary to plaster all over the internet, and young kids are showing off their bodies to the world in ways never done before. I think the best question to ask yourself before posting is: "Will I regret this being on the internet 5-10 years from now?"

  But I digress, the point of this post is to shed some light on a way you may be jeopardizing your child's safety with your smartphone. Every time our phones are upgraded, new technologies are added; great right? Well, not always... especially if they are adding 'upgrades' you don't realize or know about. It seems like a new upgrade is happening every couple weeks and honestly who reads the privacy terms and conditions every single time they download a new update? 

I'm venturing to guess that most of us just click the "Agree" button while cursing our phones for taking too long to download the update. When the update is finally finished, we grab our phones and go on our merry way. Every time we open a new app, notifications are instantly banished with the click of "Yes".  Am I right? Don't tell me I'm the only one that just clicks "yes" to pretty much everything that pops up on my phone... That is until recently. Lately, I have noticed some fishy stuff going on with some of the most popular social media apps. It all started with Pinterest. In one of the latest updates, I noticed something about mapping your pins... Why do you need to map your pins, I thought? This really bothered me and after much thought, I can only come to the conclusion that it is just another way to track your location. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; they all have location services attached to them. Anytime you post something, your location is attached to it and available for anyone to find. What's even scarier is that if you have location services on in your photo app, the location is attached to any picture you post on the internet.
Let's watch that video again:

 If I'm going to be honest, the first time I watched this I thought "Okay well I am right by Myles' side all the time, so this really doesn't pertain to me." The only problem was that I still couldn't stop thinking about this video for the rest of the day. It really made me begin to question my choices. I know there will come a day when Myles will go places without me and if I'm being realistic, that day is going to come sooner than I realize. And I'm sure by that time, this location technology is going to be even more accessible and accurate. I never want to jeopardize his safety just to be able to put his pictures online, but I also don't want to let this world overcome me with fear. As parents, our job is to make the best decisions for our children. If you choose to share pictures and information about your kids, just be smart and use discretion. Also like the video shows, TURN OFF LOCATION SERVICES FOR YOUR CAMERA APP!!

It's very easy to turn off if you have an iPhone. 
Here's how:
1. Go to your settings screen
2. Click on 'Privacy' (the white hand). 

3. Click 'Location Services'. 

4. You can either turn location services off for everything on your phone (meaning you can't use maps, weather, etc.) or you can keep it on for your phone in general, but turn it off for specific apps. 
I keep my location services off for everything except map-related apps. Just click on the apps you don't want to have location services for. The one you for sure want off is Camera. I also turn it off for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because I post about Myles on those apps as well.

After doing this, I feel better about posting pictures because they have no location attached to them. Though I'm sure in the near future, doing only this will not be enough. At least it seems like that is where technology is heading: less and less privacy/safety.  For now, I will keep posting on social media (with location services off, of course), but I will always be coming back to this issue. I know I will have to re-evaluate often and there very well may come a time that I decide not to post anymore. I think the best we can do as parents is to stay informed and make the best decisions based off of that knowledge.

What do you all think about internet safety and your children? Have you turned location services off on your phones?


  1. I turned the location services off on my photos a while ago. I saw a news feature on it so I did it right away!!

  2. I heard a little about it here and there, but nothing too concerning until I watched that video. It is not right how much information they know about us just from our phones. I think it is important to protect ourselves as much as possible because so much information is already out there and easy to get with the internet. I'm glad to hear other people know about this because I really didn't know it was that serious. Hopefully the hubby changes his mind!

  3. Totally agree. They gather so much information and link it all together to market and sell to us. Facebook is very good at that. It's scary how easily information can be found on the internet and most people have no clue! I'm glad you checked this out and spread the word. It's hard to be private in this world, but we can try to get as safe as possible.

  4. I'm glad that other new stories are out there. I had heard about location services before but I didn't realize that it attached locations to pictures. And the locations are very accurate. It definitely is hard to be private in today's society, but at least we can keep some information to ourselves.

  5. April @ 100lbcountdownFebruary 2, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    I don't have location services turned on, I only use it when I'm using Google Maps. That's it. All of the services ask about using location services and I always say no! It's scary out there. Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style! Don't forget to come back on Friday to see if you were featured!


  6. Wow!! Thanks so much for sharing!! I'm still so old school with phones and I still only upload with my camera and that's it.. However, when I do get a big girl phone I will seriously be making sure it's safe :) xoxo #Newest follower


  7. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have seen the video and changed the setting on my phone a while back but it is really scary!
    I am doing a giveaway today and would love for you to check it out!

  8. Is there anything out there about fixing this on an Android phone?

  9. Brittnei WashingtonFebruary 3, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    I definitely watched the entire video to see what this was all about. It totally makes a lot of sense to me as well. These apps think they are slick. You are right. Why does everything need a map now? I did have mine turned off but I made sure for my apps like Facebook that they are off besides just Camera just in case. I shared this post as well because I think it is extremely important! Thanks for sharing with us at Countdown in Style! Don't forget to stop by Friday to see if you are featured! xo

  10. I'm not too sure, but I think it's mostly the same. Go to settings and find location services. It might be under "Privacy" "GPS" "Location" or something like that. I would just search in settings until you find it. And then turn it off or turn it off for whatever apps you want. Write me back if that doesn't help.

  11. I'm glad you read and it was helpful. Make sure that if your kid's get phones you turn it off on theirs too! The best way to be safe is to not have a smartphone at all, so you are the safest that way! Life is a lot easier that way too :) Thanks for stopping by!

  12. It's crazy how much information apps try to get out of you. Definitely scary how much they know about us and all that information is just out there for people to get. I'm glad it seems like most people have it turned off on their phones that I have talked to. It's nice to have for certain things like maps, but not necessary when your safety is at stake.

  13. Thanks for sharing! Most people that have commented said they had theirs turned off as well, so it's good to know that a lot of people already knew about this. I don't think everyone on the internet needs to know where we are through every app we use. It is just getting too crazy! I guess it's good that at least there is an option to turn it off! Might be headed that way though :(

  14. Thanks for sharing! Most people that have commented said they had theirs turned off as well, so it's good to know that a lot of people already knew about this. I don't think everyone on the internet needs to know where we are through every app we use. It is just getting too crazy! I guess it's good that at least there is an option to turn it off! Might be headed that way though :(

  15. This is so scary! But with great and informative posts like this one we can keep ourselves and our children safe from predators. Kidsemail is an email service for kids and we strive to make our kids safer online. We are always looking for partners to help us fight the fight and keep our tech savvy kids safer online. With great posts like this we can do it!


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