How to stay safe online when sharing selfies and 'checking in'

- The world has become selfie-obsessed, taking and sharing more than a million selfies every single day.

With a click of your smartphone camera, you can quickly capture a great memory and share it with your friends and family -- but that photo may also be just what the bad guys want.

Dr. Safiya Noble, an assistant professor at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, tells FOX 11 that many people are unaware of the amount of personal information they send with every photo shared. She calls having a smartphone in your pocket as "a map to every single place that you go and everywhere you've been."

"If I sent you a picture of myself by text and you open that photo in an application like iPhoto for Apple, you'd be able to find out the GPS coordinates of where I took that," Noble explained. "So let's say we're dating, and I just sent you this picture like, 'This is what I look like' but I send it from my bedroom, now you, a person that I'm just getting to know, know where I live."

The same applies to posting a selfie on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Not to mention, "checking in" at establishments online can notify potential burglars that you aren't home.

"We have to also remember that these social media platforms acculturate us to sharing, sharing, sharing because they make a lot of money off of our content that we're sharing. So we are in fact the product in these big social media platforms, and we need to be thoughtful about whether we want to make our lives for sale, our every move, our location, our hobbies, and even kind of our intimate secrets, if we want those to be commodities on the Internet," Noble added.

So how can you protect yourself without completely going off the grid? Here are a couple tips to follow:

-Turn off your phone's location feature on Android and iOS.

-Make sure the location is not being shared on social platforms automatically.

-Avoid "checking in" to places in real-time.

Once you share that selfie with good lighting, know that it is no longer private.

If you want to learn more about digital privacy, both LibraryFreedomProject.org and EFF.org have great resources available.

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