Facebook is a social networking site that is very popular amongst teens and adults. Why is Facebook so popular? The site allows you to stay connected with friends and family. You can build your own webpage, join online groups, discuss your political views, post and view pictures and even meet new people. Facebook is even great for keeping up with current events.
Facebook can also give you a false sense of privacy and a feeling of anonymity that can make you vulnerable. The site allows you to set your own privacy settings. For some this is not an easy task. If you are not paying attention it is easy to "overlook" some of the settings that keep strangers from viewing your profile and pictures.
Facebook also has a location-based application that allows you to “check in” at your current location. When this feature first appeared on Facebook I used it quite frequently. This is an application for mobile devices. One night I “checked in” at home. Within a few hours I received a call from one of my close friends. She let me know that by “checking in” on Facebook I had just given my 300+ Facebook friend’s directions to my home.
I was surprised I had not realized this was possible. I went back through my Facebook page and deleted all of my “check ins”. I was afraid I had put my family in danger. I thought I was being careful by periodically checking my privacy settings but I was not aware this new application would allow someone to GPS directions to my house.
I still continue to “check in” on Facebook. Today I make sure I do it when I am in public. Even then I have to be careful. I do not “check in” at the same places every week or during the same times each day. I do not want to make it easy to be stalked or for my home to be burglarized. I am careful about whom I “friend” on Facebook but I am friends with people I have not seen in 20+ years.
Please share this information with your friends and family. Online predators are real and the Internet can make all of us easy targets. I want to do what I can to make sure my family and friends are safe. It is easy in this day and age to make mistakes when we are online or using new technology.
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