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Safety: Internet and Social Media

It's Pinterest day for the Babywise Network and the theme for today is "Safety". Be sure and check out the Safety board on the BFBN Pinterest account.

Am I the only one that finds the Internet daunting? It is so vast and so big and everywhere you look "bad guys" are lurking to take advantage of innocent people. On the other hand, we don't want to make decisions based from fear and there really is so much good that can come from the internet too.

There is a lot of information available for how to keep your family safe on the internet. It's really easy to go really far on either extreme of this. We decided, when it comes to this blog, and our social media, to be smart and to set up some guidelines. This is also something we will re-evaluate from time to time and based on current circumstances and seasons in our life.

There are 3 basic guidelines Kyle and I follow to keep our family safe:

1. Watch the privacy settings on all social media accounts. 

Through the years, things continue to change with your options about your settings. Because of this you need to continually make sure your privacy settings say what you want them to. It is more than just having a "private" or "public" account now. There are more options, which can be bad, but they can also be good. Stay on top of them to make sure your privacy says what you want it to.

With Facebook, there is a little tab on the right end of your menu bar at the top of your screen that has shortcuts for your privacy settings. It's pretty self explanatory and they have it laid out with simple easy steps to figure out your settings.

For twitter, you need to click on the tiny profile image to the right of the search bar at the top of the page. It will bring up a drop down menu for you to select settings.

Clock on settings and it will bring up this menu. Select the Security and privacy settings tab on the left and it will show you your options. 

With Instagram, it is still a one option "privacy" button. You can find it by going to the Settings cog and selecting the privacy option.

We have chosen to keep all of our accounts private since we do post pictures of our kids. If I don't know you personally and you request to follow or friend request, I will look at your page/account first to make sure there is no spam or inappropriate content posted that would make me feel uncomfortable with you seeing pictures that I post. I also really trust my gut and even if I just don't feel right about something, I have no problems blocking or denying a request. 

2. Turn off all location settings. 

Do you know that unless you have it turned off, that every picture you take has a location tag on it called a "geotag"? Text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc... all will tag a location unless you have it turned off. This is not just whether you "check in" somewhere or not (which I'll get to in a minute), but it is an automatic thing set up in your phone or application. 

To turn off geotagging on an iphone or ipad:

1. Launch the settings app on your phone or pad.

2. Select Privacy

3. Select Location Services

4. Choose camera 

5. Choose either "while using the app" or "never"

Specific to Instagram:

1. Launch Instagram

2. Go to your Profile

3. Select the location pinpoint tab

4. Select "edit" in the top right corner

5. Deselect all of your photo thumbnails

After you do, exit and come back and you should have this message pop up:

3. We don't publicly announce our address or our kids schools... including web "check-ins"

We are way past living in a world where we just need to tell our kids to "not take candy from strangers". Internet predators are real. Because of that, it's a no-brainer to not announce to the world where you are or where your kids are. 

We don't publicly announce when we are home or when we are not home. Because burglaries are real too. 

I don't really know why it became so popular for us to share where we are all of the time. But whatever the reasons behind it, it's not a smart choice!

We talk to our kids about "Stranger Danger"

While this isn't specific to the internet, I think it is definitely worth mentioning.

There was a video circulating Facebook a few months ago, that stopped me in my tracks. Have you seen it? It's a social experiment showing how easy it is to get children to go with a stranger on a playground without the moms even noticing. 

This video was so eye opening to me and it really encouraged me to be more specific in how I was talking to my kids about stranger danger. We don't want to scare our kids, but we do want to be smart and we want to teach them to be smart. We talk about the ONLY people that are allowed to pick them up from school EVEN if they have the right number or EVEN if they know those people. 


Here are some websites I found that have good tips and ideas for keeping your children safe on the internet:

As our kids get older, we are going to have to look at what safe boundaries look like for our kids when they use the internet and social media. If you have older kids and want a good place to start, can I suggest an awesome resource for you for a lot of areas in raising teens? It's called Radical Parents. My brothers have put together an awesome website and podcast, and it is definitely worth your time to check out.

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