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Taking Pictures, Internet Safety and You

So you want to post that favorite photo of you and your children? Well, it could reveal more than you want it to.

“Isn’t this a great picture?  I wanted to share with my friends on Facebook.” 

“We had such a wonderful family time seeing the Christmas lights—and doesn’t our daughter look adorable by the giant tree?”

“We are having a great vacation! Look at that gorgeous sunset!” 

“My dog is so cute—my friends will really appreciate this series of shots.” 

These and other similar conversations happen daily online. Posting to Facebook or other social media seems like a safe way to share information — because it is only going to “your friends”, right?  WRONG!  Your friends’ friends’ friends sometimes see your posts, and that allows an uncontrolled viewing of your information.  

The cell phone technology that allows us to take pictures and send to others also includes a geotag, providing the location the picture was taken.  Every time a picture is posted to the Internet, the location where the picture was taken may also revealed. By turning off the GPS feature for pictures, locations are not revealed; other aspects of the GPS system are not affected.

Although we don’t encourage people to cower in their houses for fear of stalkers, unethical people and others who take advantage of a good thing, SafetySmart Lilburn encourages everyone to consider whether posting geotags-activated pictures is a good choice. Pictures posted while you are away on vacation or business alerts others that your house may be unoccupied. Pictures taken at the park, school, gym or church reveal patterns of behavior. It seems like such a simple thing, but is really important for the safety of our children, property and ourselves. 

Ehow.com provides instructions on how to disable the GPS (saves battery life also) and geotag apps.

Turn off from GPS application:

  1. Turn on the cell phone.
  2. Wait 30 seconds for the phone to connect to all networks and for the GPS application to connect.
  3. Press the "Menu" or "Main Menu" button on the phone.
  4. Scroll to and select the "Applications" or "Programs" option.
  5. Locate and select the GPS application that you use on the phone (such as Google Maps).
  6. Open the application and allow the application to load up.
  7. Press the "Menu" button.
  8. Scroll to the "GPS" power section.
  9. Clear the "GPS" check box or select the option "Turn off GPS."
  10. Make sure any GPS indicator icons disappear and that GPS application is not running.

Turn off from main phone menu:

  1. Turn on the cell phone.
  2. Press the "Menu" button from the main screen on the phone.
  3. Scroll to and select the "Settings" option.
  4. Scroll to and select the option for "Connections" or "Networks."
  5. Clear the "GPS" check box or select the option "Turn off GPS."

Turn off from shortcut:

  1. Select the GPS icon or widget that appears on the main screen of your phone. This shortcut varies based on your model of phone.
  2. Press and hold down the "Options" selection.
  3. Select the option "Disable GPS."

Read more:

If you are being stalked or know someone else who is, please contact the United States Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime

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