Taking the WARNING!!! one step further

Yup. Technology is scary.

It has been almost 2 years since Mashable came out with their information on the geotagging of photos. You then throw Facebook’s location services into the mix, and Foursquare as well, and if you don’t teach your children it is a recipe for disaster.

I do realize that in this day and age, unless you scare the shit out of people they generally don’t fix problems. Though personally, I prefer a “yes your children can be at risk, but here is how to protect them.” approach.

With social media as my job, I know a lot about privacy settings. And yes, Facebook has been changing things a lot over the last year, but if you have everything set up properly to begin with your not going to see any differences in your privacy. I will even go so far to say that it doesn’t matter if you post every single thing on your page as public…if no one can find you. But I will get into that.

I’m going to start the platform that encompasses a HUGE group of people, the one that we love to hate.


First the fundamentals. On your computer. These setting I would suggest to everyone, adults and kids alike. If you are unfamiliar with what the common setting are, let me draw it out before I go further:

  • Everyone – These posts are public. Anyone whom you have given the ability to see your page can see posts that are targeted to everyone. NOT a good setting for kids, not suggested for adults.
  • Friends of Friends – If you trust EVERYONE your friends are friends with, go for it. I personally don’t care for this much, aside from a couple pieces listed below.
  • Friends – Only people on your friends list. The best for the kids, and for yourself if you care about who sees your Facebook personality.
  • Custom – This setting allows you to target certain lists (if you use them, and you should) and even block certain people individually from seeing posts.

Ok, now that that’s clear, lets go to your settings. Here we go…

  1. Click on the gear at the top right of your page, then click “privacy settings”, third from the bottom.
  2. On the main page that comes up, Privacy Settings and Tools, check out/change the following items:
    • Who can see my stuff?
      • Who can see your future posts.
        This setting becomes your default posting setting. Yes, it can be changed, but if you or your kids aren’t savvy, or you’re not paying attention, it’s a good thing to at least have this set at Friends. Just don’t go public!
    • Who Can Contact Me?
      • Who can send you friend requests? DO NOT SET THIS TO EVERYONE.
        Friends of friends will be the setting you want. If you don’t have it set that way, anyone and their brother can send you friend requests. This is especially good for kids.
      • Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided?
        Friends of Friends – You can also set this to friends only
      • Who can look up your timeline by name?
        Friends – Personally, I don’t want people to look me up. Friends of friends is another option.
      • Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?
        Off – This one is VERY important for the kids. If this is not set to off, you and your children’s facebook page will show up whenever someone searches your name or your kids’ name via Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  3. Now click on Timeline and Tagging and check out the second bolded headline:
    • Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?
      • Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?
        I have mine at custom, but at the very least, keep it at friends, NOT friends of friends. If the person tagging doesn’t have location services off and they’re tagging you or your kid in a pic, it can lead people right to you.
      • Who can see what others post on your timeline?
        Again, a matter of preference, just NOT below friends of friends security.
    • How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?
      • Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?
        If you turn this on and review each tag, if someone tags you in something you don’t want to be tagged in, you can dis-allow your tag on the post. When you have this enabled, you should always pay attention to WHO is tagging and WHAT they are tagging.
      • When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?
        If you set this to friends, only your friends can see this on your timeline.
  4. On to Followers
    • Turn on Follow
      For the kids, I would not check this box. But rest assured, followers only see your public posts.
  5. Finally, Apps. This is a big one.
    • Apps you Use
      If you play any games, post via phone from outside apps (Pandora, Foursquare, Instagram, etc.) you will want to check out who can see what. You need to review EVERY app you use. You can set it to Public, Friends of Friends, Friends, Custom, Lists, Only Me, Etc. When you click edit, it will shouw you two things you need to concern yourself with: Visibility of app and This app can also. The latter section will let you allow or not allow access to your personal info, your friends’ info and posting on your behalf. **APPS GET HACKED, SET ACCORDINGLY OR DO NOT USE
    • Apps Others Use
      You can block anyone elses apps from accessing ANY of your information. And I would suggest you do so.
    • Instant Personalization
      Just say OFF.

Once you’ve taken care of these settings, you will be half way there as far as safe/private browsing for you and your kids.But if they/you use a smart phone for Social Media, you will want to read on. I put the location settings info at the bottom.


Foursquare is one of my favorite little apps. I hold tons of mayorships and have a grand ol’ time with it. For the kids, just don’t give them the option. They do not need a Foursquare account.

To keep yourself safe, if you’re a user, there are a number of settings that can help our your privacy.

  1. At the left hand fly-out menu, go to the bottom and click settings.
  2. Then, Account Settings
  3. Finally, Privacy SettingsHere you will be given a plethora of different options for your privacy, all simple yes or no’s (Check Boxes). What do you check??
    • NOTHING….if you are at all worried about anything.

If you are concerned with people knowing your location, just don’t use Foursquare!


This one is relatively simple. If you don’t have one, do not connect it with Facebook when you create it, and make it private. If you are old school and have had one for ages, just change your settings from Public to Private.Then no one can just look at your stuff.

  1. Click on Edit Your Profile on your profile screen
  2. At the bottom, toggle Posts are Private button to off.
  3. You’re done.

And if you are going to go public (business/self-employment/artists/etc) at least use the location service settings below!

Location Settings

The following changes made to location setting will disable any geotagging on your photos that are posted on Facebook/Twitter/etc.


  1. Settings
  2. Privacy
  3. Location services
    Make sure this is off completely if you’re setting up a phone for your kids.
  4. Under Location Services, you can choose what apps on your phone have access to the location services. If you use maps, weather, fitness tracking, or obviously Foursquare, you will need your locations enabled. But you can turn it off for Google, Twitter, Facebook, Camera, Instagram, etc. ANY APP that uses locations will be listed here. Be smart.


“If you want to find out whether your Android phone is collecting location information tap Menu, Location & Security. You will see the screenshot shown above, which has two options for how your phone collects location information, either via wireless networks or by using GPS satellites. If you do not want your location information tracked, clear both check boxes.”

That’s the best I have, as I do not and will not own an Android phone :p

Taking the time to change these setting will greatly enhance your security and the security of your kids. Nothing is fail-proof, and I cannot promise you that if you do these things you’ll be totally safe. But it will make you a whole helluva lot safer, and most importantly, make your kids a helluva lot safer. If I missed anything, ass it into the comments, please & thank you!!

The other suggestion I would have is to make sure you and your kids change your password every 3-6 months, and as a parent, GET YOUR KIDS PASSWORD!! If you stalk their page, you can nip all kinds of behavior, dumb kid shit to very risky behavior, right in the bud. It’s NOT being a bad parent. It’s being a damn good one.




  1. This was very helpful. You explained it so even someone dumb like me could understand! Now if you could just help me merge my biz page with my personal page, I’d be a happy girl.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s