Jane Binnion column

Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.
Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.

So we’re well and truly into the school holidays now.

I love it as that means no 6.45am alarm for six whole weeks, and finally my brain’s alarm clock has switched off too.

For many of us of course, school holidays also mean going away and this brings its own challenges with regards to staying safe online.

I regularly see people posting “on our way to the airport for our 9pm flight”, or “just taking Fido to the dog sitter for two weeks while we go to Italy”.

It’s all very exciting I know, but it’s also a great big public announcement that your house is empty for the duration and it’s not hard nowadays to find out where that house is.

And then of course for those of us that are very committed to the online world, there are regular Facebook posts and tweets from the holiday itself, updating friends and followers with our every movement.

The police are warning people that burglars are checking social media for such announcements, but we have become so used to sharing all our lovely news with people that I know it has already become a hard habit to break.

And actually, if you suddenly stop sharing Facebook posts people will notice anyway, so what do we do?

Personally I think we should take a digi detox and have a complete break from all things online if possible.

But if that is too much of a shock to the system then we need to think safety first and foremost so here’s some useful tips.

nTurn off your Location setting, as it alerts people as to where you are you posting from.

nCheck your security settings so that only friends or family can see your posts.

nDon’t let people know that the house is empty and don’t give detail of your departure and arrival, it just makes it all too easy for burglars.

nMake sure all family members agree to the plan. If granny takes her new ipad she ‘ll be snapping and sharing everything!

nIf you use social media for work, get someone to keep an eye on things as an account that goes quiet for a while is usually a sure sign of a holiday and thus attracts hackers.

And finally, try to resist posting those very drunk photos online for the world to see - especially if you’re the boss.