“Location, location, location,” is the saying normally quoted by real estate professionals or anyone referring to how important location is with regards to property or real estate. However, it turns out that location is much more important to many people than you’d think, especially in the digital age. Social mapping is one way in which many people are turning location into much more than just where someone is at. Here are some ideas on how you can protect your children from social mapping.
Parents like to know where their kids are and what they are doing as knowledge gives them an added measure of security. While knowing exactly where your children are is great, it can be difficult information to get. However, technology such as cell phones that have GPS tracking devices in them can send parents an alert if they leave a certain location at a specific time of day. Tracking this kind of information can be considered social mapping and can allow people to keep track of where others, such as children or elderly parents. While parents want to use this kind of information to protect their children from people who may wish to do them harm, it can also be used by people with less than honorable intentions.
A primary key for tracking the whereabouts of children, phone locations are only the beginning of social mapping. However, cell phones are becoming increasingly advanced and GPS systems are getting more precise to where they can now pinpoint a person’s location. Many kids know how to use every application on their phone as well as how to enable and disable applications as well. GPS and other modern services that cell phones provide have definitely made it much more difficult to get lost; the downside is they’ve also made it much easier for people to hide. Anyone with a lot of technical knowledge can find information about you from your phone and even locate you based on your GPS location. While people may be concerned about the ability to track kids using a cell phone, very few people are able to utilize GPS tracking and networks are still quite secure for the average person.
One problem that cell phones and other mobile devices can cause for parents who want to keep their children safe is the ability to access the internet almost everywhere. Social networks are used by millions of people and the use of them by younger and younger people is becoming more and more common. Social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are just a few examples of places where kids and teens interact with each other. While these sites can be a great way for kids to connect with their friends and other people that they want to get to know, one problem with the online world is that some people aren’t who they say they are. This in combination with the fact that children are generally trusting people can have them connecting with people who may not be who they say they are; additionally, these same people might want to do bad things to or with them. Online security is normally an afterthought for most families and while it takes a perfect storm for bad things to happen, technology and social mapping can make it easier to create that perfect storm. When kids update their location or status from a mobile device on a social networking site and someone with bad intentions could see the information and act on it, with the worst of intentions. While this scenario is not very likely, it could happen so parents have to be careful and pay attention to what their children are doing and who they connect with online.