Oz’s tips on location-sharing for teens

By Anne Collier

Using cellphones for finding out when friends are nearby, for special shopping or dining deals, for discounts from spots where you check in a lot, and for knowing family members are safe and where they’re supposed to be is a great thing. And, like all digital technology, it can have its misuses, such as giving out one’s location to people for whom, and for whatever reason, that information is not intended. So the No. 1 safety tip for digital location-sharing, as usual with just about digital everything, is mindful use (and – I’m reminded of the joke, “vote early, vote often” – teaching our kids as early and often as possible to think about how they use digital devices and technologies). There is no substitute for the Tip No. 1, because we can’t rely on default privacy settings to protect our data or digitally “enhanced” public image – not only because providers’ settings are *very* mixed in how much they protect users’ privacy but also because privacy is a shared responsibility on a user-driven Web, where friends post info, photos, and videos that include each other. So here are some great tips from the Australian Communications & Media Authority on location-based services (LBS). There’s a fund of resources in the “cyber(smart :)” site, designed particular for a number of categories of users: young kids, kids, teens, parents, libraries, and schools. [See also ConnectSafely’s location-sharing tips. There’s a PDF, linked to at the bottom of the page, that can be printed out and shared at events, and we have tips on many more subjects too, including virtual worlds, videogaming, cellphone use, cyberbullying, sexting, secure passwords, etc.]

Then there’s data location-sharing

As for finding the location of our data rather than our friends online (a slightly different but equally important subject), the ALCU located “a small gem” of info in the Federal Trade Commission’s just-released report on the collection of our data online and offline: “Buried on pp. 107 and 108 is Appendix C, a chart prepared by technologist Richard Smith which conveys all of the personal information collected about all of us and where it goes.”

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