Michael Dell's daughter all at sea on social networks - how do your kids measure up?

Filed Under: Featured, Privacy, Social networks, Twitter

Michael Dell, the eponymous billionaire founder of the computer company Dell, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week.

Despite spending millions each year on security for his family, Dell's children don't seem to have the hang of online safety. His daughter has apparently been suspended from Twitter for being too open with details of the family's activities and whereabouts.

But what about your children? Do they have their social networking behaviours under control? For that matter, do you?

Here are five simple suggestions you can give your children. You can also demonstrate the efficacy of these suggestions by following them yourself!

1. Turn geolocation services off. Giving out regular and precise updates of your whereabouts is convenient - but you should consider your location to be a form of PII (personally identifiable information).

2. Don't advertise or give details about times you won't be at home, or will be alone, or might otherwise be vulnerable.

3. Ask your friends every single time if it's OK before you include them in posts and photos you put online.

4. Unashamedly expect your friends to do the same for you in return. Stick to your guns on this.

5. Set aside occasional days when you stay off social networks altogether to reduce your dependence on them.

Granted, each and every one of these will reduce the fun you have online very slightly. They all require self-discipline. And one of them may cause tension between you and your friends.

But why not give them a try? Let us know how you get along.


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6 Responses to Michael Dell's daughter all at sea on social networks - how do your kids measure up?

  1. James · 716 days ago

    Have you seen http://www.weknowyourhouse.com - it captures all of the posts from twitter that contain "at home", then links the geolocation to Google Maps..

    • Anna Brading · 715 days ago

      Thanks for this James! We've written about it as a result of your tip :)

  2. Kath · 716 days ago

    I find it refreshing and free to not be on facebook everyday. I personally would rather pick up the phone and hear my friends voice and all the inflections that they intend rather than trying to figure out what they are saying by the "typed" word. Too many conversations get misconstrued on facebook, messenger, and even emails; nothing beats the warmth of a friendly voice!!! Thanks, Mr. Bell, for the telephone!

  3. rocketmaster · 716 days ago

    Number 3 can become annoying after a while.

  4. Nice Loki · 713 days ago

    @Rocketmaster - then perhaps you are posting too many photo's of your friends?

    Less is more and all that. ;)

  5. Mark · 687 days ago

    @ rocketmaster, there is a FB setting that you have to approve anyone checking you in or tagging you in a picture, I think even for just tagging you in a post.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog