Have you ever heard about “Geo-location” or “Geo-tagging”? I know they are big words, but I’d like to tell you what they mean. Another way to say it would be your “geographical location,” or in plain English, it’s technology that tells people exactly where you are.
Most of you will have heard about the Global Position System or GPS. That’s sort of a grid system over our planet that uses longitude and latitude. It was invented to know where things are on the globe.
I’m sure you’ve seen grown ups driving around with a little box on the dashboard of their cars that gives them directions; those systems are exactly what geo-location is about.
If you are travelling by airplane, that is what pilots and airports are using to direct air traffic. But that’s not all they do. You may also have a technology-savvy aunty who gets the latest shopping deals and incredible sales near her location on her smartphone. That uses geo-location too.
Well, since some of you have smart phones, you should know that there are features and apps that can be turned on or off, right under your nose, that use this system. For example, there are social media platforms, like Facebook, Yelp (Foursquare) and so on that “check in” on your smartphone using that system to know where you are…that’s right! It knows your location and lets your friends know exactly where you are, right now! Pretty cool isn’t it? But wait a minute…. can you think of a possible “dark side” to these services? What about total strangers? Do you want to share your location with them also?
While it’s fun to know where your friends are and to let them know where you are going, there can be problems with posting that information on social media and on the Internet. For example: A thief could know where your home is and also where you are right now. It is handy to know the house is empty for him/her
Unfortunately, there are also characters that are much worse than thieves who make use of this information on the Internet.
All right! I’m sure that you are starting to get it now!
I would be willing to bet that some of your close friends or family members, or even you, don’t even know that when some of these settings are turned on, it is actually attaching that geo-tagging information to the pictures and videos you post. Check out sites like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat etc… and you’ll find that most of them use geo-locating. It’s alarming the information that some kids and adults post for the world to know, without knowing they have done so. My friend, I’m not telling you this to scare you, on the contrary, I’m a fan of technology and want you to enjoy it as well. But let me ask you, if you are using a smart phone, do you even know if you are geo-tagging or not? Find out and play safe!
Every cell phone, tablet, phablet and device is different. You and/or your parents will have to refer to the user’s manual that came with your device.
Should you decide to leave the geo-tagging feature turned on, carefully decide which apps will be allowed to use geo-tagging.
Only allow friends and family into your networks. Only allow people that you know in real life to be part of your network
If you’re standing in front of a monument and post your picture right away…. You must realize that you are potentially letting the world know where you are right now, even without the Geo-Tagging turned on!
Lastly, remember that, even when all the settings are correctly, the second you post a picture, video or text, it’s available for others to capture and distribute.
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