Smartphone Sharing Safety Risk Worries Arizona Parents

March 6, 2014 by  


By Nidah Chatriwala, TMO

GeoTargetedPush-480x340In the age of technology, privacy is almost nonexistent as files are shared wirelessly constantly. Children and adults are carelessly sharing their personal information across social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the intention of staying connected with friends and family while unknowingly putting their life at risk.

For example, Jenny Collins told AZFamily.com that she and her two daughters, 13-year-old Karagan and 9-year-old Makenna, frequently use their smartphones and iPads to “capture everyday moments.”

“They’d freak out if they didn’t have them,” Collins said to AZFamily.com. “It’s their whole life.”

This creative freedom comes with a price the parents of this generation’s children must face sometimes more severely than the adult active users on these sites.

Here’s how. When a check-in is made on a social media site, the smartphone or like device uses local services setting to send out personal information with exact location details to strangers online.

“What you’re doing is making it very easy for predator to look at an image and say, ‘OK, there’s my target, there’s where they live, here’s where they go to school,’” said Ken Colburn, a computer and technology expert who runs Data Doctors. “You’re making it very, very easy for a predator to kind of set you up.”

Just a few clicks is all it takes to invite trouble. These online criminals will find their target, then follow them closely to monitor their regular routine before an unfortunate event is carried out.

“There’s been predators for years and years, but it was never this easy,” Collins said to AZFamily.com. “That’s what scares me; it’s too easy now.”

So what’s the solution? Turn off the location services setting on the device as well as adjusting the security setting on individual apps unless when navigation is in use. This will prevent location sharing, but make sure the setting remains turned off when an app or phone software gets updated.

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