By @TheMarkDalton.

We are into December, holiday season, festive cheer. While Christmas is not a happy season for everyone, for many people it is a joyous part of the year to look forward to with food, presents and drink. With the growing rise of social media, we are sharing more sensitive information now than we have ever done so before, something which could be putting people in danger.

While many people ramp up their home security at this time of year as burglary can shoot up by as much as 25% depending on where you live, users are being reminded that posting photos or updates on Twitter and Facebook could create unnecessary risk. AA Home Insurance conducted a survey recently asking customers about their attitude to protecting their home in the winter months and their social media use.

They found that 78% of women and 67% of men aged 17 to 24 years old were likely to take extra precautions around home security this Christmas.

However, it was also discovered that this particular age group is the highest to compromise the safety of their home through their use of social media with 31% of men and 37% of women saying they were likely or very likely to post holiday information to social media.

In the same age group again, 31% of females and 18% of males said that they were either likely or very likely to post comments or images relating to gifts on social media.

We love sharing what is going on in our lives on social media, we love sharing it with family and friends as well as complete strangers. Innocent posts on social media during the Christmas season can be a gift to a burglar, it is not hard to piece together information on what you are doing during the holiday season, if you are at home and what you are spending your money on if you are a regular social media user and when you put all that information online you are putting a big target on your back.

AA Home Insurance has issued a series of tips to help keep you safe over the festive period:

  1. Tell teenager children not to post or tweet about family holidays this December
  2. Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know (though this goes for any time of the year really!)
  3. Review security access to your social media profiles (consider making more information private if you wish)
  4. Do not use direct messaging on social media sites to communicate travel plans
  5. Leave lights on around the home when you are away
  6. Disable GPS on your phone so that it is not tracking your location information

Think about what you are sharing on social media before you actually share it this Christmas. We know that burglary goes up this time of year so make sure that you are not blindly handing out information to people who are looking to steal from homes. You can guarantee they will be monitoring social media channels to see what people are up to so be cautious of what you may be saying!

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