The Hazards of Social Media

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While it might seem that our primary role as your insurance agent is to protect your physical property, one of the most important things that we protect, is you.  More and more social media sites are popping up all over the place, all of which at least a handful of people can admit are as addictive as chocolate.  And while you or your kids are posting pictures, blogs, or a favorite recipe, there are a lot of threats out there that we forget are lurking around in the World Wide Web.

We will address a couple of different things to look out for, but always keep in mind, the hazards of social media can be limitless and it is extremely important to be cautious and aware of everything.

  1. Crime is something that can affect you as a result of social media publicizing.  Think of how many people you know that post pictures while they are on vacation, or who post their plans or status on a regular basis.  If you are advertising that you are not home, you are making yourself very vulnerable to burglary or theft.  Another point that arises from this issue is who your kids are accepting friend requests from.  Most, if not all, kids are less aware than their parents of the dangerous types of people that misuse the internet.  Nowadays, it can become a competition with kids on who has the most “friends.” Accepting a friend request from a random stranger that looks harmless could be inviting a potential thief to monitor your family’s activities.
  2. Keep your personal information PRIVATE.  You could be setting yourself up to be a victim of identity theft.  And while most carriers do offer coverage to assist in the expenses that could be incurred, recovering your credit after being a victim of identity theft can take years.
  3. What you post on the web will be there forever.  These days prospective employers and schools will do a web search on you, and this could certainly affect the outcome of a decision to make you a part of their organization.  Pictures are not the only potential issue here. What you post on other peoples’ pages or on your own can reflect quite a bit on your character as a potential employee or student, even if it isn’t who you “really are.”
  4. Know what you are liable for.  In this example, we will use parents and their minor children.  Vicarious liability is a type of liability in which a parent can be held legally liable for the acts of their children.  For the purposes of social media, we will focus more on personal injury and less on liability caused by physical harm.  Kids have the potential to post things about other kids, and this can make you susceptible to liability claims for things like libel, slander, defamation of character, and even cyber bullying.

Of course social media is a fun instrument to have, whether it be to keep in touch with friends or to advertise your business.  Just make sure you are using it safely and responsibly! If you are ever concerned about potential dangers to your home or liability, we are always here to advise you on the best actions to take.

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