Is Social Media the ‘Achilles Heel’ of Security Systems for Homes?
What does social networking have to do with home security? Upon initial consideration, most people would assume nothing at all. With further examination, however, an interesting contradiction emerges between our efforts to secure our home and family and the way we use the Internet to communicate with family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and even strangers. Social media and networking have inherent risks, and you can compromise your security and privacy without even realizing that you’re doing it.
Risks of Social Media and Networking
What is the difference between social media and social networking? Social media is a means of communicating to a group. Social networking is a means of building relationships with individuals. Most people use services like Facebook and Twitter to network, but what they don’t consider is that those are also platforms for social media. In other words, if you announce on a social network that you’ll be away from the house for several hours, you’re potentially broadcasting that information to a wide group of a people, a group that could potentially include a criminal.
Safety on Social Networks
Security systems for our homes that are robust and updated are a great start, but they don’t amount to much if we undermine them by releasing sensitive information online. The first step is to recognize the difference between public and private channels. Be very careful about what you post over public channels. On private channels, it’s safe to post your sensitive information as long as you’re choosy about who you add to your friends list and are active about pruning it.
A Consistent Approach to Privacy
Home alarm companies stress the importance of being consistent about your approach to privacy online. It isn’t good enough to start be careful now just because you’re about to leave on vacation. The kind of people who care to watch for these things can identify patterns and exploit them. Consistency also makes privacy a habit, and once it’s a habit, it’s a lot less likely that you’ll make a big mistake.
Home alarm companies also warn that our children can be our greatest weakness. They simply can’t appreciate the seriousness of these matters, and they’re much more likely to share their sensitive information online. It’s important to talk with them and stress proper online etiquette. It’s also important to monitor their online activities and pay attention to who they add to their private lists, and make changes if necessary.
You’re leaving home, but you don’t have to leave the home unprotected. The best security systems for homes are monitored around the clock, so call yours and alert it to your departure. That will allow them to respond to alarms more quickly and accurately. Have a neighbor, family member or friend pick up your mail and your newspapers. Leave lights and a television on, and put those items on timers so that it appears much more natural. Be very careful about social updates while on vacation, and make certain that you only broadcast them over private channels.
Your Security Company
Most home alarm companies have a checklist available online, by telephone or on live chat. When you inform them of your absence, ask for it, and then make sure that you can check off all of the items to ensure that your home is as protected as possible.