Warning for parents about your child's digital footprint - WKRN News 2

Warning for parents about your child's digital footprint

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Parents, listen up if your child has a Smartphone, and of course, that is just about all of you.

Top cyber security experts have a warning.

Someone like a predator could be keeping track of your child.

"Just think about it," said Scott Augenbaum, the FBI's top cybersecurity agent in Nashville. "Your 12 or 13 year old now is leaving a digital footprint, where the bad guys or evil doers, as I like to describe them, can track every movement that they make."

Augenbaum is talking about 12-year-olds just about anywhere, whether it's in Middle Tennessee, or somewhere around the world.

They take pictures with their phones, and then share them with friends.

But in this seemingly innocent practice of our digital age, lies potential danger that every parent should know.

"Kids are incredibly innocent, and it is our responsibilities as a parent to understand the risks of all of these devices," said Augenbaum.

He warns parents, and especially kids, of what's called geo-tagging on social media sites like Instagram.

Embedded in photos on the site can be information about not only who you are, but where you are.

"We are not saying don't let them use it, just be aware of that," Augenbaum said.

He told Nashville's News 2 parents can be proactive.

Every mobile device from Smartphone's to iPads come with a settings application.

Within it, is an access to your location.

It can allow other apps to access that information, unless you simply touch the off position.

But do your kids really understand what can happen with all that personal information within a photo shared from your mobile device?

"Not to the maliciousness," says Dr. Sachin Shetty who heads the cyber security lab at Tennessee State University.

Along with turning your phone location off, he urges parents to do three other things for their kids:

Tell them to be make their settings on social media private instead of public, opt out of hashtagging on sites like Instagram, and be careful of who your friends are.

"What is stopping your friends from making (a photo) publicly available, so you are trusting your friends," warned Dr. Shetty.

Both cybersecurity experts acknowledge the wonders of social media sites, but they just want parents, kids and any user to recognize there may potentially be some danger as well.

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