Disable geotagging on kids’ smartphones

By Anne Collier

If your kids love to take, post, and tag photos with their cellphones and they use smartphones like an iPhone, sit down with them and figure out how to disable geotagging. What’s geotagging? It’s a bit of software code that smartphones automatically embed in digital photos when you take them, so that – when they’re posted online – people can fairly easily map exactly where the photo was taken, e.g., a school, house, or other place the photographer spends a lot of time. There are free browser plug-ins that allow users to create a Google map showing the location, the New York Times reported over a year ago, when the market for smartphones was much smaller and more grownup (the Times tells what the plug-ins are). Icanstalku.com tells you how to disable geotagging on the iPhone (and iPod Touch, because it’s so similar), and here are instructions on how to do so on Android and BlackBerry phones too. Icanstalku.com is an awareness-raising site created by a couple of thoughtful computer-security guys in Massachusetts. It’s like another public-service site that went viral last spring: PleaseRobMe.com about the effects of tweeting to all your Twitter followers when you’re not at home (in case one of them is a robber). A Kansas City TV station just picked up on this and is reporting it as something new. Note that their reporting aims to scare viewers, but if you need more pictures than Icanstalku.com provides, it may be helpful. Just be aware of the scare tactics.

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