Many college students sacrifice a large part of their privacy every day. They download a new app, and when it requests to use their location data, they agree without even thinking about it. While these services can certainly make things more convenient—you can quickly know what restaurants are around you, or find the closest gas station in seconds—using them means that your phone is continuously broadcasting where you are and what you’re doing. Using social networking apps can make this information even more blatantly obvious: by uploading geotagged photos you create a map of your activities and locations that would be fairly easy for someone to access.
In order to better protect their online privacy, students should better educate themselves about how their phone’s location services work and exactly what information they are sending out to the world. One of the easiest things to do is to simply avoid sharing where you are on social media—especially if you’re somewhere you can be found regularly. Additionally, you can more selectively use apps that require location data by leaving location services turned off most of the time, and only switching it back on if you absolutely need to. Taking steps like these only requires seconds of your time, but it makes a world of difference to your level of personal privacy.