Seven Selfie Dangers

May 20, 2014

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While taking a "selfie” is trending, there are some factors you should consider before snapping that shot.  These are issues affecting privacy and internet safety.

1) Location, location, location – the golden rule for selfies. People love to show where they’ve been. If you are somewhere cool or interesting, you want to document and share it. It’s a way to self-promote — where were you last seen?  The drawback to this, however, is it can be dangerous to share your location especially if it’s a recognizable location… a stalker/stranger could easily find you.  

2) Linkage: a popular selfie is a selfie with friends. People love posting pictures of themselves with celebrities or even good friends. The issue with this is strangers can easily find information on friends included in the pic. It’s common to tag friends in pictures, facilitating the tracking process. Be aware of who you include in your selfies.

3) Profiling: Selfies also provide a clear profile of what you look like and your interests. By posting enough selfies, you give viewers an image that can be easily recognized. Facial features can be memorized. A general image of a person can be gathered as well, such as determining which types of clothing brands and stores you like to shop at or where you like to hang out.

4) Anybody Home?: By snapping a selfie of being out and about, you are announcing that you are not home. Most people don’t think about this vulnerability. However, viewers can easily gather the whereabouts of a selfie and assume your home now unattended.

5) Your Daily Schedule: Another selfie subject is the various, everyday activities in which people are involved. For example, if you snap selfies at the gym, spa, grocery store, mall, etc., these posts reveal the locations you go on a daily basis. Stalkers could glean where you work out, buy groceries, or shop.

6) Friends: Selfies can reveal the identity of coworkers. Often, workplaces require employees to wear name tags, which can lead to others easily acquiring coworkers’ names.  This could result in a variety of challenges ranging from blackmail to identity theft. If a selfie is taken in the workplace, it is important to avoid including name tags or name plates in the shot.

7) Family: Details about the family can also be highly visible through selfies. They show the number of family members as well as reveal age. Depending on the family, sharing this info could be considered acceptable or obtrusive. Parental control is important not only on the internet but in “real-life.” Families should set boundaries based on the amount of information they would like to share.

Sharing information and experiences through pictures is very common. We all need to be aware of the challenges so we can prevent potential damage to our own identity and safety.

Net Nanny Social is a useful tool in filtering the information displayed online. The software can assist parents in monitoring the information children share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.