GPS Worry for Moms?

A friend recently drew this newsclip to my attention. It's from ABC, and shows how the EXIF data, or exchangeable image file format, can be used to find the exact lattitude and longitude your photos were taken at. That sort of geo-tagging can be good for you, if you're looking to find the exact same spot you took a stunning picture on vacation, but it can also be troubling. Since so many of our teenagers are directly uploading pictures to the internet and the ubiquitous Facebook, there is a very real danger that they could be enabling a stalker. We warn our kids not to tell people where they live; many people are careful even about allowing their children to wear personalized jerseys or jackets for fear that a stranger could pretend to be familiar with their child and lure them away, and yet here is the exact location of our home, school, and favorite hangouts. We live in a dangerous world, and while we would like to think the best of everyone, it's just not realistic. EXIF data is information inserted in your photo files that shows the type of camera used, the creator, copyright information, the date the photo was taken, and possibly the geo-data. To see an example, open one of your own pictures, right click on it, and then click on properties. That is the EXIF data. In Picasa you can put geo-tag data in, and even link it to Google Maps. It can also be modified in Picasa, your particular download software for your camera, or in any of the EXIF modifying software available on the market. Go forth and Google. I would say look in the user's manual for your camera or cell-phone to find what you can do with your particular model. Having your photos geo-tagged can be handy, and that capability is highlighted as a positive point, but just because someone else thinks it's a great idea doesn't actually mean it's a great idea for you... Have fun, keep shooting. 🙂 Addendum: A friend recently sent me this video that explains this issue in more depth, and also shows how to turn the feature off on most smart phones. Also, unless absolutely necessary, set albums of pictures of your kids to private on social networking sites. Cheryl