Why Sharing Vacation Photos on Social Media Can Be Dangerous

Woman taking photo of Santa Cruz on smartphone
Photo by RossHelen/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

While a typical Facebook user wouldn’t share their home address online, half of them share vacation photos or social plans, according to a NordVPN survey, a Virtual Private Network provider that helps protect online privacy.

More than 80 percent of respondents selected “home address” as information that may cause harm if shared publicly; however, vacation photos or social plans – although seemingly innocent to share – can potentially be dangerous. According to security company Webroot, the majority of Millennials tend to post their travel plans online. 

“Each time a social media user announces that they are in the Caribbean with the family, it’s a signal that their home is empty,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.  “Or when a user says they are leaving town, there might be a wide audience reading that.

“Even though people express serious privacy concerns, they still tend to reveal their personal details online for small rewards or for the sake of creating their online persona.”

Here is some advice by NordVPN how to still enjoy sharing on social media, but staying safe and private:

  1. Wait till you get home to post your travel pictures. Those who really need to share their photos, should at least wait till they are back home, and their home is not empty anymore.
  2. Make sure social media setting are private. One of the most important things before sharing is to make sure that the settings are set on private sharing with friends, or a select group of friends, and your photos are not visible to everyone.
  3. Realize that everything you post online, will stay online. Tweets or photos that one posts as a college student will still be there when they are a company director down the road. Therefore, online privacy might have a different value to the same person after some years. To stay protected, don’t post anything now that you might regret later.
  4. Never share personal data on Facebook. Do not enter your address or phone number on Facebook where it can be visible to anyone. Do not create status updates sharing vulnerable information.
  5. Don’t overshare feelings, not just data. According to one study, people who share their feelings on social media often get bullied, while others look on and allow harassment to happen. It’s more advisable to share personal feelings in close and friendly circles than publicly.
  6. Protect your location. Don’t show your actual location by using a VPN. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that hides your IP address and your location. By connecting to another country’s server, you can set your location to virtually any place in the world. NordVPN is one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world as it uses leading industry encryption methods and keeps no customer logs.
  7. Understand the dangers of free public Wi-Fi. Cafes, shops, and even school cafeteria offer unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Users need to be especially cautious when connecting to these networks – as they can easily be monitored. Hackers can easily position themselves as a Wi-Fi hotspot or use special software to steal data from unprotected networks. One of the best ways to safely use public Wi-Fi is by installing a VPN.

It’s still possible to make sure your friends see your vacation photos – but it’s important to be careful with privacy and to follow these guidelines.

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