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Going ghost – why you should never share your location on social media

18 October 2017

What are the risks when location sharing on social media?

Sharing your location, or geosharing, is becoming more and more popular on social media platforms, with Snapchat being the latest platform to include this feature. 'Snap Map' allows users to see all their contacts on a map and see snaps from locations around them.

While location sharing may appeal to many users, the real danger it presents is cause for concern—especially as teenagers account for a huge proportion of social media users.

Many users have an 'open' social media account that allow any follower (known or otherwise) to see exactly where they are—even down to which street they're on. This presents a real physical risk—especially for younger users.

Stay Smart Online recommends disabling location sharing on social media platforms.

What to do now

For Apple devices

To update location services for individual apps go to: Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
To update location sharing for your whole device:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings > iCloud.
  • Scroll down, tap Share My Location.
  • Turn off Share My Location.

To find out more information about location sharing for Apple devices, visit the Apple support page.

For Android devices

To see which apps are now using, or have recently used, your device's location:

  • Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  • Under "Personal", tap Location.
  • Under "Recent location requests", see the apps that recently accessed your location.
  • To see more information about an app, like its battery or data use, tap that app.

To update location sharing for your whole device:

  • Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  • Under "Personal", tap Location.
  • You can turn off Google's Location services in two ways:
    • Tap Mode and then Device only. This mode uses only GPS to determine location.
    • At the top of the "Location" screen, tap the On/Off switch. Turning off location for your device also turns it off for all apps. Many features will be turned off.

To find out more information about location sharing for Android devices, visit the Android support page.

Staying safe

Always be aware of what information you are sharing on social media platforms. This information can be used against you through identity theft, phishing scams or even stalking.

Always monitor children's use of these platforms and help them make safe decisions in their online socialising.

Read more about how to socialise online safely.