There are many location-based apps available for mobile devices, making it easier than ever to show your friends and family where you are at any given time.
Some services enable you to check into a specific location, such as Facebook and Foursquare. Others like Google Latitude and Map My Run, log your movements in real time. Another way that you may share your location is by geotagging, used by services like Instagram, to let users match photos to a location on a map.
- Do you want people to know your location? Remember that the majority of services will have tools to manage whether or not you wish to share your location, these can often be accessed via the privacy or account settings. Some services may have geolocation activated as a default, so you will need to actively turn this setting off if you don’t want to reveal your location when posting and sharing content. On mobile devices you can usually turn off location services for all apps within the ‘general settings’ menu. On some devices you are also able to manage geotagging of your photos within your camera settings. It’s also worth noting that some services let users show their location and the location of their friends. Check your settings to see if friends can reveal where you are, again this can usually be managed within your account or privacy settings.
- Think about where you are checking in! It is so easy to find things out about people online, but you need to ask yourself do you really want to broadcast this information to everyone? For example logging in at home not only tells people when you are at home but also tells people where your home is. The same rules apply for your friend’s houses and school, if you wouldn’t want to put yourself at risk by broadcasting your personal address then why would you do it to your friends?
- Are your updates linked to other accounts? If location updates on one service or social network are linked to a public account on another, you may be publishing to a larger audience than you think. Make sure all linked accounts are visible only to friends.
- Avoid building up a picture of your average week: Checking in regularly from the same locations can develop patterns and lead to people building up an accurate picture of your movements, this can lead to safety concerns.