AUSTIN -- Most smart phones can tell you the exact location where its camera takes a picture, but a KVUE Defenders Investigation reveals the camera may be the least of your worries.
Whether you re a first time mom or a mother of many, documenting those first few months through pictures are crucial.
Daily or weekly updates of what he s eating, a crazy hairstyle, said Amanda Sanders, an Austin mother of a young boy and another one on the way.
She posts many of those pictures on social media, like Facebook, to share with family. To keep her pictures private, she thought she set Facebook to allow only friends and family to see her photos.
After the KVUE Defenders logged onto Facebook, a quick searched of her name found dozens of pictures of her family were available for the world to see.
Perhaps the most concerning thing to Sanders is a map at the bottom Facebook s albums identifying the exact location, down to the street level, where she posted some of her pictures.
I thought I had it pretty secure, said Sanders.
The map includes photos of her Florida vacation this past June, where she got engaged near Savannah, Ga. and a picture of her son at Zilker Park in Austin.
Yes, that s very unsettling, said Sanders.
Before KVUE showed her, Sanders never knew Facebook posted a map of her pictures online. Like many Facebook users, she nearly always uses her phone or iPad to check and review her Facebook privacy settings. The map doesn t appear on those devices. It only shows up when you view Facebook on desktop or laptop computers.
I didn t realize that much information was out there for people who absolutely had no connection to my husband and I, said Sanders in reaction to Facebook s map.
Heidi Gollub is another digital savvy mom. The mother of five writes the blog, Free Fun in Austin, for moms and posts dozens of pictures a week on Instagram to show her followers where she goes.
So, I ll take pictures enjoy, the experience and then share it as we re about to leave, said Gollub.
While she s typically picky about using Instagram s location service, even she is surprised with how specific the phone app identifies where pictures are taken.
You re freaking me out. I don t like this news story anymore, she said in reaction to going back through Instagram s map of her pictures.
A brief survey of her pictures show 56 photos were taken downtown. Many include pictures of her children.
It shows where we ve been the most frequently, which is a little unnerving, said Gollub.
Yes, definitely, she needs to worry about that, said Sgt. John Rowe, a cyber crimes expert with the Round Rock Police Department.
If not turned off, Rowe says picture location services on apps can show bad guys exactly how to track down you and your family.
Once you put out on the internet, you just never know where it s going to wind up, said Rowe.
How do you prevent people from seeing your Facebook map:
- Click on the edit button that looks like a pencil on the top right hand corner
- Next, click on manage settings
- A menu appears
- Find the Places section and then uncheck it
- Press save and you re done.
You cannot turn off the photo map/location feature on Instagram s app, but you can limit the number of photos posted to the map by turning the location function off before you post each picture.
Go here for additional information on location services on phone apps.