Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

28 Oct, 2012

How To Protect Your Family from Online Predators This Holiday Season


October 23, 2012, PENNINGTON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This holiday season, the Family iBoard® – a private social network designed to keep families connected no matter where they live – reminds families to keep online safety top of mind as consumers spend more time on social networks to plan holiday gatherings, and chronicle them by sharing photos and messages throughout the season and into the New Year.

Facebook’s significant milestone of reaching one billion users demonstrates consumers’ willingness to share information about their personal lives in a public way. However, 94 percent of consumers consider privacy an issue, according to a recent TRUSTe survey, with 58 percent of respondents expressly indicating they ‘do not like’ online behavioral advertising.

“Now is a perfect time for families to learn best practices and private alternatives as they celebrate this holiday season using digital tools,” said Chris Gentile, founder and CEO of Family iBoard. With that in mind, Family iBoard urges families to remember the following considerations:

  • Are your “privacy” settings really private?: While privacy settings in public social networks like Facebook can dictate who can see content you share initially, there is no security measure that stops a person on your “private network” from taking a screen grab or right clicking on a photo to share it wherever they like. Remember, if you don’t want information broadcast, refrain from posting it at all.
  • Think twice before posting where you are: Many social networks allow consumers to share their location publicly. If consumers post about their holiday travel plans, they could be tipping off burglars scouring the Internet in search of new targets. It is also important to be careful when posting photos. Often times, photo sharing, especially those taken from mobile phones, includes geographical information, which means you are broadcasting your location sometimes without realizing it.
  • Communicate your personal digital preferences with extended family: Many new parents are hesitant to share photos or identities of their children online, and all parents should be. While close family and friends who you see regularly may understand these preferences, extended family members who you only see during the holidays and special occasions may be unaware. Remember to verbally communicate your preferences, and better yet, consider a private social network that will allow you and your family to share photos and memories safely.
  • Stay humble, leave the gift sharing offline: This holiday season, you may have the good fortune to receive expensive items as gifts. While receiving premium gifts is always exciting and share-worthy, it could be in your best interest to only do so offline. Telling your close friends and family is one thing, but posting pictures and status updates of elaborate gifts may give your “followers” the wrong idea and make you a target to burglars.

“Sharing content digitally has become so ingrained in our everyday lives that it is easy to lose sight of serious security and privacy risks. And for children who have grown up in a digital world, it is even less of a priority,” said Gentile. “As more consumers post updates and photos on their social networks this holiday season, it is more important than ever for families to be aware of the long and short-term impact of sharing personal information in a public realm, in addition to the private and secure options available.”

Especially during the holidays—as celebration is taken to a digital forum—it is important to practice safe online habits and consider private alternatives when it comes to sharing information via social networks that is just meant for family.

To learn more, please visit familyiboard.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/familyiboard or on Twitter at twitter.com/familyiboard.