If you’ve read my blog log enough, you know that I’m not one to fear monger. But this is something you may not be aware of – – and really should be.

We all love our smart phones. Me especially. My iPhone4 takes gorgeous photos and video. Apps like facebook and twitter for iPhone make it easy for me to share photos and video in real time, from wherever I am.

But… (there’s always a but, right?)….

Did you know that every piece of data (that is video or photo) that you take on your smartphone has a bit of geographic data attached to it? In short, this processing (called geotagging) attaches GPS coordinates of where you took the photo to the data associated with the photo. This makes it easy for your iPhoto program to sort by location, but it could also pose a potential safety hazard for your family.

That picture you tweeted out of your child (finally!) peacefully sleeping in his or her room? Yeah, the GPS coordinates were probably attached. That means someone can easily find your house, or your child’s room.

{{Cue Hitchcock music…}}

Here’s what I’m NOT saying: “OH MY GOD. DON’T EVER USE YOUR SMART PHONE AGAIN!!! I can’t BELIEVE you’d put your child in jeopardy!”

What I am saying: Use your smart phone thoughtfully.

Although it sounds ominous, the website ICanStalkU.com has a lot of great information about about smart information sharing. Here’s what they’re saying about smartphones and geotagging:

Most people don’t realize that the action of automatic geotagging takes place on their smart phones, either because it is enabled by default, not exposed the user as an option, or was asked and then forgotten. As a result, individuals often share too much information about their location, right down to the exact Latitude and Longitude when snapping photos with their smartpphone and posting them online.

The easiest way to stop inadvertent geotagging? Simply disable geotagging on your smartphone. ICanStalkU has step by step instructions for how to do this for most smart phone platforms (iPhone, Andriod, Blackberry, etc).

Want to read more about this topic? Check out what the New York Times has to say about it, or this NBC News Article.

Do you have other safe smart phone tips?

Technology Thursday is a joint project of Classic Play! and (cool) progeny. Each week, both blogs will be taking on a family-technology-related issue. We invite you to join the conversation!

Previous discussions in this series:

In the Year 2011
iPads in schools
Rules for Facebooking
How much is too much?
and more… just search Tech Thursday on either blog

Image Credit: Wired Magazine.com