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Teens’ social media habits putting home security at risk

The use of social media among teens today is widespread and the personal safety risks are high.

2 smiling teens playing on their phones

Research from the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) shows that 97 per cent of 14 to 15 year olds have used social networking services; and a third of 12 to 17 year old internet users had added strangers to their friends list or address books.

According to our 2015 Secure Homes Report, there’s a correlation between children posting sensitive content to their social media accounts and criminals breaking into their homes. The average of age of children identified as being active on social media was 15 years old.

Risky home security behaviour
The Secure Homes Report suggests that online activities may be informing would be thieves. The research indicated that risky social media behaviour includes:

  • posting travel plans
  • sharing your whereabouts (through geo-tagging or checking in)
  • uploading photos of the home

Sharing this type of information on social media announces to the world that your home may be standing empty or is full of valuables. Social media posts have a long digital footprint and regular routines can be easily identified when sharing specific locations at recurrent times.

How are your kids using social media?
The ACMA research shows that parents of 12 to 17 year olds were likely to underestimate their child’s involvement in using a location based service and posting their own blog or online diary.

Indeed, the Secure Homes Report revealed that half of parents who participated in the research had not personally reviewed the information their children had made available on social media which is concerning. Anecdotally, we know burglars use social media to target victims and children can be more vulnerable.

Be vigilant
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to checking children’s social media habits. The results from the 2015 Secure Homes Report are a timely reminder for parents to sit down with their children to address the risks and ensure social media habits do not compromise the family’s home security.

While every home in every neighbourhood can be a target for thieves, social media may be becoming an increasingly common tool to gain insights into homes. ADT Security encourages parents to audit their children’s social media sites, and check their own social media habits to ensure they are not inadvertently increasing the risk themselves.

It is also important to secure the home as best you can and ensure that property is adequately protected. A monitored home alarm system is one of the most effective security measures available. ADT Security’s new wireless security systems are linked to home automation technology which allow users to arm or disarm the system while away from the home, providing remote access and alerts via smart devices.

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