5 common social media mistakes parents make every day

Are your social media habits compromising your kids' safety? We tapped social-networking safety expert Paul Davis for his top tips.

“Online privacy is a myth,” says Toronto-based social-networking safety expert Paul Davis. Here are five mistakes you may be making, and how to fix them in order to keep your kids safe.

1. Keeping your accounts open
Anyone can gather information from public profiles on Facebook and Instagram, Davis says—family details, travel plans, your current location, and contacts—and create a list of potential passwords, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft. Revisit your profile settings so only friends and family can view your account, accept requests carefully, and do an audit every three months.

2. Tagging your photos
“Why embed a name in a photo that can be indexed by a search engine?” Davis says, “If you appreciate any sense of privacy, don’t tag.”

3. Posting about birthdays and anniversaries
Tell your kids happy birthday in person. If you do choose to post a birthday greeting, “you don’t have to write a detailed book; keep it simple,” he says. “It’s not about stealing kids’ identities here, it’s about putting out too much information about a child that can be used to establish trust with them.”

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4. Geotagging your location
“Tell the world where you’ve been and what you’ve done,” says Davis, “not where you’re going and what you’re doing in real time.” Talking about predators is fear-mongering, although they exist, he says. The real issue is leaving a detailed digital trail, which could leave you or your kids vulnerable down the line.

5. Underusing the more secure ways to share
Cloud-based storage such as iCloud and Google Drive are much safer ways of sharing pictures—without worrying about privacy, Davis says.

Check out Breakfast Television’s new podcast Moms in the Middle. Episode 3: To Share or Not to Share?

Read more:
Tracy Moore on social media: “My kids’ pictures are everywhere”
Hate-following other moms turned me into a cyberbully

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