Thanksgiving is a time of fun, family, food, and football. Everyone coming together can be super fun for the entire family. There can also be some struggles here and there, especially when it comes to what turns up on the screens in the house. Your younger kids could end up seeing too much social media on their teenage cousin’s smartphone. Uncle so and so can show Youtube videos to some family with adult language and content not noticing the children in the room. Heres a few tips to try and keep your Thanksgiving Holiday internet safe and family friendly.
Protect Your Kids
Encourage a host home internet filter.
Ask the family member or friend who’s hosting your Thanksgiving festivities if they have some sort of content filter on their wifi. Many routers have a basic filter and some folks may even have another filter system in place. If there isn’t an option, recommend one like Circle. If they don’t have kids or aren’t interested in filtering their wifi long term you can recommend a free trial with something like Mobicip or NetNanny. This usually allows you to use the filter for seven days to a month at no cost. Offer to help them set it up and then you can breathe a little easier when your kids are using their wifi.
Keep devices with screens in a common area.
Intentional poor behavior will happen in private. If you keep the screens around everyone else you’re much less likely to have an incident. Make a rule that screens should be kept in the most common area of your Thanksgiving meeting place. The living room full of people or the dining room around a busy table is a great place to let kids spend whatever time on screens you’ve allowed while adult eyes can glance down to see what’s being viewed. This will also keep sneaky cousins from pulling up something age appropriate for their younger family members.
Talk to your kids.
Your kids need a safe place. They need to know that if they see something inappropriate online they can come to you and receive no judgment or criticism. It’s critical that they are allowed to explain what they saw and how it made them feel. Discuss your screen boundaries ahead of time, your kids should know what you expect even if you aren’t able to get the whole extended family onboard with your plan. Tell them if you want them staying off screens completely. Let them know not to look at older kid’s phones or tablets while they play. Think ahead of the likelihood of your kid seeing something they shouldn’t and try to head that off at the pass. Accidents happen but if you and your kids are on guard, you should be able to have fun without too much worry.
Protect Your Privacy
Turn off camera location settings.
Your camera defaults to save your location every time you take a photo. This tags those photos with where you were when you snapped that pic. Then, when you share the image on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat your location is uploaded with the image. This means that with the right software your location can be extracted from that photo and used for unseemly reasons.
- Go into your settings app and access your “location” settings.
- Go to the camera app settings under “location” and tell your phone never to use “location” while using your camera.
Changing these settings will keep your location data off of your pictures.
Advise family members not to tag their location on their Thanksgiving posts.
Finally, you’ll want to be careful not to tag your location on your photos. Yes, pictures of the pie, stuffing, turkey, and gravy boat have become as much a part of the holiday tradition as the cornucopia, but when you share it you’ll want to leave the address of the host off of your status update. Sharing your address with public social media posts is never a good idea. This can lead to all kinds of dangers. Imagine the images of all the neat and expensive stuff in the host home. Now imagine you’re a local who likes to break and enter to take things every now and then. What better way to identify a target than creep Instagram holiday posts for the people with the coolest stuff. Then, find the posts with their address tagged on the photo and off you go. Share away, but share with wisdom.
The holidays should be a time of rejoicing and happiness. We should stuff ourselves with food and enjoy being together. Following these steps can help you stay safe and help keep your holiday party guests safe as well.