Social Media Safety: Ways to Keep Your Kids and Family Safe Online

Stacey joins Banfield on NewsNation to talk about social media safety and a recent Kim Kardashian story.

Banfield on NewsNation recently asked me to join in a conversation with Bianca Jade about social media safety. I’ve spent the last 9 years curating a following online and sharing tips and experiences on my blog. After so many years, I’ve learned some major mistakes I’ve made and also ways to keep my family and myself safe.

Whether you’re a public figure or not, it’s still important to think about online safety for you and your kids. There continues to be an increase in theft related to people sharing too much information online. The Banfield interview was based on the now famous robbery of Kim Kardashian in her hotel room. One of her perpetrators recently spoke out, saying he feels no remorse for robbing her. He felt she was asking for it, given how she flaunted her material wealth.

Kim Kardashian’s Paris Robber

Here’s the thing, I actually can see his point. Social media has definitely become a place for the “look at me” culture, as I call it. The bigger, the better, the flashier, the cooler. It’s all about clout-chasing, one-upping the person next to you, and flaunting more and more.

Also, we have a younger generation that has literally grown up online. Their parents have been sharing their entire lives on their social media, and now they are at an age where they are sharing their lives. Some people even joke that it must not have happened if it wasn’t posted on social media. This mentality has gotten people so addicted to sharing all aspects of their lives, that they often forget about making safe choices to protect their privacy.

Like Kim Kardashian flaunting her jewels, a lot of us don’t think about ways we may be putting ourselves or our families at risk. I’m no stranger to theft. Two of my houses, one as a child, and one as an adult were burglarized. Both occurrences happened before social media was even a thing, but I can tell you that feeling of being violated and unsafe stays with you for a long time. I cannot imagine how traumatizing Kim’s experience was, but I do know how it feels when you don’t feel safe in your own home. That’s why it’s so imperative with the explosion of over-sharing on social media, that we smarten up.

So what can you do to protect yourself online? Well, here are a few simple ways to keep your privacy and identity a bit more protected so you can maintain your social media safety.

Never Share Your Location in Real Time on Social Media

I have admittedly broken this rule in the past. There have been real-time events I wanted to share, like the re-opening day of Disneyland, for example. I was so stoked to be there, that I wanted to share my experience in real-time, especially since the park had been closed for so many months during COVID. I felt somewhat more safe sharing real-time in a location like this since it’s less likely something bad would happen. Although I still should have followed my own rule, I did at least ensure to never post right when I was at a specific attraction. I would ride a ride or visit an attraction and then post that once we’d moved on to another part of the park.

So why not share your real-time location? Well, first of all, that gives someone direct access to you. If you have a stalker or someone who hates you, this would give them easy access to finding you. They may also learn your patterns and start going to places they expect you normally are on a specific time or day. I personally think it is ok to share your location later on, but never in real-time if you can help it. Even on press or personal trips, I try not to share my location until I’m no longer there. I often share the week after we travel to keep my family and me safe.

Never Share Your Home Address

This is another rule I have broken in the past but have since changed. I no longer post the front of my home and I never post my home address. Although a lot of this information could be found via the internet, I don’t want to make it easier for people to find me. Thankfully, I haven’t had anyone show up at my house before, but I have known people who have. Plus, if you are showing off luxury goods or a luxury lifestyle, people will be more likely to seek you out or show up at your house to rob you. It definitely would be best to try to keep your home as private as possible.

Don’t Flaunt Your Wealth on Social Media

social media safety banfield stacey freeman poshinprogress

Although it’s never ok to steal, I can understand why Kim’s robbers felt such little remorse. In the past, Kim did flaunt her wealth. The fact that she had 10M worth of jewelry in her Paris hotel, is, to me, absurd. It does show a lack of tack when it comes to money. If you have that level of wealth, in their minds, they thought it meant so little to her. And I can understand that.

The article we read to prepare for the Banfield interview, specifically talked about how this experience has changed Kim’s mindset pretty significantly. She no longer values material things in the same way as she did before. That is such an important lesson for her and anyone else who is fixated on material wealth and material things. Ultimately, your life is a lot more valuable than anything you might own.

Although I’m sure it is satisfying to have people praise you for your new designer bag or your new 3 carrot engagement ring, ultimately you should ask yourself why. Why is it that you need that external validation from relative strangers online? Why is that important to you?

Set Your Account to Private or Closely Monitor Followers

If you’re an influencer or just a person who has a public account and posts a lot online, I would just say to keep an eye on your followers. Keep an eye on your DMs and keep an eye on who is checking your stories. Personally, if you are not an influencer, I would suggest you keep your pages as private as possible. I keep my personal Facebook as private as I can.

Due to work, my other pages are all very public, but I do monitor my followers, DMs and stories very closely to keep an eye on anything that might seem odd or suspicious. If there are any accounts that seem off, or say anything questionable or too aggressive, I will block and report the accounts. Thankfully, I haven’t had many of these experiences, but every now and then I have. It’s just important to stay vigilant and aware.

Kids and Social Media Safety

When it comes to social media safety and your kids, this is a very personal conversation and decision for you and your family. I personally will not let my kids have any social media before high school, if even then. Why? That might seem like a crazy choice for an influencer, but here’s why. There is a ton of research that talks about the detrimental effects of social media on kids, especially girls.

Also, although there are lots of ways to monitor your kids’ behavior online, it is not foolproof. I’ve had friends who’s kids have seen porn as early as age 6. They weren’t seeking it out, they accidentally stumbled on it while searching for something else.

If you are looking for online monitoring tools, here is a list for monitoring kids’ behavior online.

Online Resources for Social Media Safety

One resource I’d highly suggest is Google’s “Be Internet Awesome”. I actually worked with Google to promote this program in the past, but it’s actually a program I really believe in. This post isn’t sponsored, it’s just a resource I think is super helpful for parents.

I’m sure there are some resources and tips I’ve missed. If you have any other suggestions for parents or people, generally, to be safer online, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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