We live in a world that is very connected. If you visit a restaurant or bar, you might find a card on the table that says something like, “Like us? Take a photo of yourself here and share it on Facebook for a free drink!” If you check into a gym X amount of times, you might receive a complimentary private training session. Since everyone is sharing everything they do on social media, it can feel so safe. But it’s important to remember that anyone—anyone at all—can set up a Facebook account, a Twitter account, an Instagram page, and so on. Even though the rest of the world may not be editing what they post, perhaps you should. So, do you share too much about your home and family on social media?
If your child won the student of the week award or placed first in a fitness competition at school, feel free to brag about your kid. Just don’t name which school he or she attends. All a kidnapper needs is your name, your child’s name, face, and the name of his school to show up and pretend he’s a friend of the family.
Even though you’re excited about those new kitchen countertops and the office you’ve added onto the guestroom, wait until your renovations are over to start posting about them. Photos or a torn up room indicate that there might be a construction crew going through your house every day, complete walls knocked down, and generally less supervision than usual.
Shout outs to dog walkers
You love your dog walking company—they do an amazing job. But be careful about posting screenshots of texts from the walker that state things like, “Walk complete! Two pees and lots of cuddles!” If the time on the screenshot is the current time, that tells people that you aren’t home right now. Also ask anyone who takes care of your pets or children to be discreet when it comes to their work in your home and their social media postings.
Outfit polls for events
Want the world’s opinion on what outfit you should wear to an event? You can post “This one, or this one?” photos, but don’t state the exact event you’re attending. Any time you mention your detailed plans online, you notify strangers of when your home will be vacant.
No matter how excited you are about your vacation, you need to be very cautious about what you post online. “Ten days until Cabo!” is a fun exclamation to your friends and a helpful piece of information to home burglars.
Pics of movie night
Sometimes you want to post a cute photo of your significant other and your dog watching a movie together. But in that photo, you might show your nice flat screen television and the brand new speakers next to it. Remember that entertainment rooms can contain some of your most expensive items.
Information about chronic conditions
If you or a family member lives with a chronic condition, you might seek support in the world of social media. Consider only discussing it in private groups surrounding the topic, where members must be scanned and approved. It’s never a good idea to let total strangers know that, for example, your child has a chronic condition. They can use that information to target you in scams.
Live updates from the block party
If your neighborhood throws occasional block parties, these are probably some photo-worthy events. With all the grilling, decorations, and cute kids and pets, you’ll want to take out your camera. But wait until the party is over to post these photos. Posting a live update from a block party notifies strangers online that an entire neighborhood is currently not paying close attention to its homes.
Beware of what’s in the background
Any time you take a photo in your home, just scan it for private information. An innocent kitchen selfie, showing off the stew you just created, might also display a post-it note in the background that shows the password to the security system. Just don’t post before reviewing.
You use social media for fun, and for networking. So it can be hard to remember that some users have less-than-good intentions. Use a harsh editing eye when it comes to your posts.