Warning: Kids posting to social media over holidays could tip off burglars

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Children using social media to keep in touch with friends over the holidays and posting photos of their new Christmas presents could be inadvertently attracting burglars to their home, a security company warns.

ADT Security says parents should audit their children's social media sites and rethink their own social media habits to ensure they're not inadvertently increasing the risk themselves. 

Facebook icon on smartphone.

Facebook icon on smartphone (file picture).

Source: istock.com

According to research commissioned by the security firm, which surveyed just over 1000 New Zealanders, 28 per cent of respondents with children aged six to 20 use between two and five social media platforms. 

Of those, 66 per cent who had posted their whereabouts on social media were found to have experienced a break-in.  

Of the parents who participated in the survey, 77 per cent stated they had not personally reviewed the privacy settings of their children's social media accounts in the past 12 months, and 54 per cent had rarely or never discussed the risks social media posts can have on their home security with their children, said Ben Clement of ADT Security.

Remember, social posts have a long digital footprint"
Ben Clement of ADT Security

He says sensitive content parents should be mindful of include posting one's whereabouts using photographs or check-in tools, photos of the home, new gifts and valuable items, sharing travel plans and holiday snaps, and photos of things like concert tickets or a new driver's licence.

"Remember, social posts have a long digital footprint and regular routines can be easily identified when sharing specific locations at recurrent times. While every home in every neighbourhood can be a target for thieves, social media is becoming an increasingly common tool to gain insights into homes," Mr Clement said.

The security firm says parents should check that their children personally know who their friends and followers are, and ask them to remove anyone they don't know.

Another tip is to consider never making public your personal details such as your address or phone number as this can lead thieves directly to your home.

And consider not sharing photos of children in their school or sporting uniforms, which may identify the suburb where you live.

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