The launch of Facebook's Messenger App came with a whole lot of concern. Everyone seemed immediately worried about its safety as it has the ability to send your location along with every new message.
Questions and concerns about Facebook's location sharing feature and the safety of the feature have made waves across the media. The social media powerhouse even required that its mobile users either install the Messenger App, or give up using the Facebook private messaging feature altogether. The result: (even with clear evidence that it did indeed include your location in messenger by default) over 500 MILLION people downloaded it. Million.
Over five hundred million people, that, unless they purposely choose otherwise, are sharing their every move with whomever they are talking to at the moment. It even shows a handy little map, you know, in case you want to just show up uninvited and say "hi" while your friend is grocery shopping. Not stalkerish, at all.
Facebook is certainly not the only app that encourages users to engage in location sharing and geotagging. There are several other apps that do so and typically have location sharing capabilities automatically set "on" by default. Although most of these apps and their location sharing features, including that of Facebook, have an option to disable the tracking, always read what the requirements are before downloading anything to your cell phone, and instruct your child to do the same. Knowledge is power.
As previously mentioned, there is the option to hide your location within the FB messenger app and many other apps that we would highly suggest, especially to tweens and teenagers with access to smartphones. The thing is, most people miss the fine print, or either just don't really care so much. It is the digital age. Who gives a woot if so and so knows that I am at the pool on 2nd street? Ummm, well, we care. Parents care. And even scarier, some stranger that may message a child randomly and innocently get a response may care.
If your child (or yourself!) uses any apps on their smartphone, and chances are unless you live in a cave that you do, please always go within the application and turn off anything that allows your location to be accessed. It could keep yourself or a loved one out of potential harms way. No one should know where you are unless you want them to! In the age of oversharing, we should take every precaution necessary to safeguard ourselves and our families.