National Safety Month: Social Media Safety Tips

June 12, 2018

Are you a social media user?  It’s nearly impossible to avoid the allure of social media platforms in our modern age. In fact, a stunning 81% of Americans use at least one form of social media, and as of 2017, most users spend more than 2 hours a day browsing, sharing, and posting. Most social media users are quite aware of the cyber security risks present online but often neglect a different risk - physical security.  Have you placed your home in danger?  Here are 5 common security hazards prevalent on social media, and how we suggest avoiding them.

Advertising expensive belongings

You’re not the only one who may be excited about any cool new purchases you’ve made!  If you make the mistake of sharing that you have some new fancy gadgets on social media, you are advertising yourself to any potential burglar. This modern form of window shopping is a perfect way for criminals to know what expensive goodies are sitting in your home before they even set foot through your door. Naturally you should make a strong effort to avoid sharing knowledge of your purchases with the world.

Even if you practice caution in your postings, your friends may not. It's no secret Lexington is home to plenty of sports fans. If you have friends over on a ‘game day’, there could easily be pictures of your new TV, computer, camera etc. going up online before half-time! Express privacy and safety concerns with friends beforehand and don’t hesitate to request that an existing picture is removed if you feel it compromises your home security. 

In a previous article we suggested that one of the best times to outfit your home with a security system was after making big new purchases. That advice still stands. It is one of the best ways to guarantee your 'new belongings' don't end up being a criminals 'new belongings.'

Providing criminals with a profile

Have you checked your privacy settings recently?  The amount of information a complete stranger can access from a social media profile is disturbing!  A criminal can glean enough information from a social media page to determine where you live, when and where you work, who lives in your home, and what possessions you may have. Be very restrictive with your privacy settings on social media platforms. Even with restrictions, avoid providing certain information about yourself and your home.  If you have your home address, phone number, or even an email address displayed on any social media platform, remove it immediately.  

Oversharing your posts

Going on a vacation with the family?  That’s great!  Sharing that information before or during the vacation?  That’s dangerous!

More than 60% of travelers claim they shared their travel experiences on social media while still on vacation, and a whopping 97% of millennial travelers made similar, more detailed posts. Sharing your unique experiences on social media can be a blast, but we strongly suggest you wait until after you’ve returned home. If the wrong person sees your post, they will know your home is empty- and ripe for the picking. 

Before posting any information or pictures, make sure that the post isn’t revealing to much.  Never give an indication of what your address is or when your home may be vacant. If you have a home security system and a provider who offers home automation, you can keep an eye on your home and your belongings from your cellphone while you're away! This is a great way to secure your home and keep stress from having an impact on your vacation.

Using a weak password

Yes, using a stronger password is one of the most common suggestions for security. For good reason. It is absolutely one of the most important elements of security on multiple levels. Privacy settings and smart posting habits won’t do anything for you if your account can be easily breached.

If a stranger gains access to your account, they can potentially gain personal information on you, your friends, and your family. The best way to combat this is to simply use a strong password. Use long combinations of numbers, letters, and special characters for the most efficient defense. 

Children using social media

It’s estimated that over 80% of children between 8-15 years old have at least one active social media account. It is important that you educate your children on how to use social media safely and responsibly.  Children are far more likely to throw caution to the wind and make posts which could compromise the safety of your home and themselves. Keep in mind that not ‘allowing’ your children to have a social media account doesn’t mean they haven’t made one.

Do more than just educate! Limiting social media and internet access can mitigate most dangers.  Placing a password on your wifi, restricting the amount of time they are allowed on computers, and requiring that your children provide you with access to their social media accounts can help you limit risk. 

Take home security to the next level

Even the most cautious of behavior on social media can sometimes fall short.  The best way to ensure security for your home and family is a reliable home security system.  At Bates Security we can provide the perfect security solution for your home, including wonderful features such as home automation. With remotely accessible security cameras, you can keep an eye on your home and your family from afar, wherever you are.  Don’t hesitate, get the security you deserve today.

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