Throughout my career, and now as the Cyber Safety Expert for STOPit, I have had the honor of speaking to over 500,000 kids around the country about ways to be smart online. I like to ask kids to think of their digital lives as an electronic book that they are constantly writing throughout their actions on social media. How can they think about their choices and behavior online in order to write the kind of book about themselves that they would like to be written?
As parents, we have an important role too – we can help to create “teachable moments” in order to help bridge the gap in our families when it comes to the internet and communication. A teachable moment is an opportunity to communicate with your child about something important – and to help instill the kinds of lessons that will help your child to grow into a responsible citizen, online and off.
For FOSI’s Digital Backpack special, I wanted to share some actionable advice on how to keep your kids safe online as they get ready to head back to school. Since Instagram is the most popular app out there, I decided to share these step-by-step tips on how to remove the geo-tag from your Instagram account.
Remember, with geo-tags on, anyone can see exactly where your child posts from on a neatly drawn map. So if they are posting from places like their school, the theater they frequent, or your home, guess what? People will know how to find your child. This is not only creepy, it could be dangerous.
Once you’ve explained why this is so important, pull up this easy step-by-step list on your phone and walk through it with your teen.
1. Open Instagram and go to your profile page. Below your name, there are four icons. The third icon looks like a teardrop – touch the teardrop.
Tip: if the teardrop is grayed out, geo-tagging is already disabled!
2. If a map pops up, your location is currently being shared. The map shows your pictures, and the number of pictures that you have shared from specific locations. To disable geo-tagging, in the top-right hand corner, touch EDIT. The numbers will change color.
3. Now touch a picture. You will be given the option to Edit or Zoom.
4. Touch EDIT again. The pictures from that location will fill the screen with check marks indicating a geo-tag.
5. Now touch DESELECT ALL to remove all of the geo-tag check marks.
6. Touch DONE. You will be asked to confirm if you would like to remove the geo-tags for your pictures permanently.
7. Choose CONFIRM to remove the tags and stay safe! Your profile won’t be affected in any other way.
Sometimes online safety advice can be a little tricky to implement, either because there are complicated steps involved, because you don’t understand exactly what is at stake, or because the nature of the advice is somewhat ambiguous. Luckily, this is not one of those times! Turning off geo-tagging is simple, straightforward, and important. It’s a concrete step you can take with your teen to keep their location hidden from strangers. Do it today!
Image Courtesy of Flickr