Aided by unprecedented convenience and constant access, 24 percent of teens go online "almost constantly," with more than 90 percent saying they're online every single day, the Pew Research Center reports.
It’s hard not to imagine life without our smartphones. However, your child’s online and social media activity may be putting your home at risk.
Kids, Teens and Social Media
Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform today. Other social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are not too far behind. It’s not realistic to restrict access to these social media outlets. But, as a parent, you should be having conversations with your child about online safety and the ramifications of information getting in the wrong hands.
Elementary Age: Many of today’s popular social media platforms do not allow children under age 13 to sign up for a profile due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. However, if you allow your child to have social media access, it's a must that you talk to them about safety. At this age, it’s recommended parents heavily monitor their child’s social activity. Be a "friend" or "follower," and make sure their privacy settings are utilized. Elementary school-aged children might not have the best understanding of why their online behavior could pose a risk to the family and your home, so be sure to talk it through with them.
Tweens: At this age, you might permit your children to join social media, although you should still consider monitoring their activity. Tween social media behavior can lead to big problems if you’re not careful. For example, sharing pictures of expensive items or even Christmas gifts on Instagram or Facebook can put your home at risk. Use privacy settings and try to discourage this type of behavior to keep everyone safe.
Teens: One of the most popular social media outlets for teens is Snapchat. But the app, which has been in the news lately, has been criticized heavily due to people using it for purposes of online bullying, intimidation and a host of other inappropriate content. Snapchat can also be dangerous for your home and family’s safety. The images you post on all social media sites can give potential thieves a look at the layout and what’s inside your home. If your teen is on this popular app, be sure to talk to them about safety and how they could be putting your home at risk.
Crime and Social Media
Criminals are finding new ways to pick out their targets. In fact, according to the Prince William County Virginia Police Department, more than 75 percent of convicted burglars believe criminals use social media to find their next target. These criminals can also use information that’s posted via social media to access specific information, such as if the homeowner is away on vacation and even specifics about who lives at the home, including what you own and where you live.
How to Prevent Crime
In addition to using privacy settings, parents can take action to protect their homes by installing a high-definition security camera system. Lorex Technology, for example, sells state-of-the-art security camera systems that can be accessed from virtually anywhere using your mobile device. These systems can even be programmed to send you motion-activated push notifications, so you will know the instant anything occurs around your home. Such features will provide you with greater peace of mind when away from home or just down the street. This way, parents can keep an eye on social media and their homes, and keep everyone safe.