Are we aware of the risks of sharing our location on social media?

Instagram has 300 million daily active users, on average 95 million photos are uploaded per day and 4.2 billion likes are made per day. Snapchat has 187 million daily users, with 65% uploading photos. Roughly 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old. It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour alone. These statistics only focus on two of the many popular social media platforms available today, and highlight how social media is a huge and growing part of society.

Social media is one of the biggest influential platforms today. Millions of people post daily updates of what they are doing, who they are with, and especially, where they are; but with these continuous updates, are we aware of the risks that come with telling the world our location?

One of the biggest trends on Instagram along with tagging your friends, is tagging your location, whether it is in a photo uploaded onto your profile or in your daily ‘story’ which is erased after 24hours. Wherever your photo or video is taken, the vast majority of people tag their location as well.

Tim Oddie, Social Media Executive at Sentiment says that “there must be people who unwillingly share their location, down to a basic misunderstanding of location sharing settings”. He added “I think that it makes the people posting feel closer to their friends and forget the risk while doing so. Everyone should be more careful due to the information which is accessible by strangers on the internet, a location only adds to this and could lead to unwelcome interest”.

Owen McMahon, a freelance social media expert, says “Sometimes we share our location for extra engagement. For example, on Instagram, geo-tagging can lead to more people coming across your content. I also think people like to share their location to feel a sense of community and place yourself in a geographical box so to speak. We should be more careful when deciding who can see our posts – especially on mediums like Snapchat which give exact locations.”

Groups of students from London, Bristol, Cardiff, Brighton, and Birmingham, aged between 18 to 23 completed a survey asking if they worry about the risks of tagging their location. When looking at how many people shared their location, it was split nearly equal between those who do and don’t.

share your location on sm

One of the newest snapchat update features ‘Snap Map’, where by pinching your screen on the app, you can see the exact place where your friends are. The more you zoom in to a ‘Bitmoji’ (cartoon version of your friend), you can see the exact street and even building/house they are in. ‘Ghost mode’ can be turned on so that your location can’t be viewed, but many snapchat users have it active.

The survey found that over half of the students do not have ‘Ghost mode’ on, and in doing so have their location available for all their friends on Snapchat to see.

ghost mode pie chart

We were all made aware of the potential dangers of Facebook while growing up, through young teenagers and children falling victim to someone using social media as a platform to chat to them. Years on, as this is still an issue for younger generations, why do some people not have their privacy settings on for all profiles? Is it because gaining views and likes are more important than risks that we know little about?

The survey also asked the sample that if they knew of the consequences to sharing their location on social media, would they still do it? 72% voted they would, but they would be wary of the risks. So even if young adults, the main users of social media today, knew of the risks in sharing their location, the overall trend of tagging where you are would potentially not be damaged.

if you knew the consequences

No one ever truly realises how easy it is for someone to find out information about themselves. Katie Robins realised just how easy it was for someone to find all her social media accounts last year. She started her new summer job in retail last June.

“I remember speaking to this one man, it wasn’t a long conversation, he seemed shy. The next day I had a Facebook friend request and a message from the same man. It’s company policy that I don’t reply to messages from customers. I ignored the message and three days later I had the same message again and a re-sent friend request.”

Katie once again ignored his attempt to research out, but two weeks later found an un-read message on her Instagram account. “It took me a moment to realise that it was the same man. The more I looked, I saw that he followed my profile and liked some of my photos, my account wasn’t private so it was easy to do this. Just because of my name badge he found my Facebook and Instagram. I then I realised there was a link to my twitter profile, I found that he had followed me on there and messaged me again asking about the University I went to because that information was in my bio.” She later told me how scared she was and worried that it was so easy it was to find her accounts.

Katie said “not only did he find my profile but found locations I was tagged in as well. I had no idea how easy it was to see all my information, where I live, my age and what I’ve been doing. Now everything is on private, I don’t tag locations and only my friends see what I post.”

Panda security wants the public to be more aware of the dangers which come with sharing our location on social media. They say that tagging where you are can lead to potential criminal activity. For example, posting you’re on holiday so others know you aren’t at home. Or, in cases of children sharing their location, it is dangerous when this information is available to strangers. They suggest limiting who can see that information, choosing carefully who you trust to see it, if tagging the location is necessary at all.


For more information on the risks of sharing your location on social media and ways to stay safe, click these link:



Gear Inc


The ‘Hot Room’

Interview with Louise Oliver.

Links for support: Bliss Charity, babies born premature or sick.

Tommy’s Charity, saving children’s lives.

The ‘hot room’. No, not a sauna or steam room. The hot room is the intensive care unit for babies in John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. There are six small beds, each surrounded by machines, monitoring various life signs of every baby. The room is covered with orange heated lighting and the hushed breaths of premature born babies are drowned out by the continuous beeping of the monitors.

Every young girl has thought about what it’ll be like to have children. What will their names be? How many will you have? What will it be like to take them home in your arms? Louise Oliver, 45, from Oxford, had dreamt about this and thought the exact same. Little did she know that it wasn’t going to be that simple.

Louise was due to have her non-identical twins on the 7th October 1993. So, when she was rushed to hospital in July, the thought of having her babies that evening never even
crossed her mind. “I remember holding my friend’s baby the week before and saying ‘I want mine now’, not that I thought they were actually coming.” She added, “I had three months left, I was in complete shock.”

Giving birth will never be an easy, non-stressful event in any woman’s life. However, Louise’s was far more complex than a normal birth. She says, “I was told that there’s a 70% chance that one of my babies, and 30% that both babies would survive the birth, but after that the doc9498413917_f056e43b62_m.jpgtors couldn’t give me any guarantees.” Louise added, “I was given an epidural. They told me it was needed because, if I moved, I would crush the babies because they were so small.” With the chaos and 15 medical professionals surrounding her, the worry and anxiety of her babies’ lives hanging by a thread understandably led to a flood of tears.

(Ron Adams- John Radcliffe hospital, Oxford. 12/08/13)

The first baby boy was born at only two pounds 12 ounces, and the size from your wrist to elbow. As the babies were non-identical, they were in separate sacks in the womb. “I remember being told they had to break the second sack. I then saw the nurse pouring out the water from her shoe. I couldn’t help but laugh in the moment.”

After the second baby boy was born, Louise was told he wasn’t breathing. He was
immediately removed from her sight and given oxygen. With the shock and upset draining Louise, and the distinct possibility that her boys may still not survive, she was moved to a private room away from her boys and all other babies and mothers.

The first time she saw her twin boys together was in the hot room. They lay on tables with plastic sides around them, sheepskin covered and supported them to try and replicate the womb, Harry in the hot room.with a bright orange dome over each of their small heads for warmth. She watched as her children had either a needle or tube go into every limb with doses of all different drugs and medicines imaginable. Both babies were attached to ventilators as they could not breathe unaided. If either of them did stop breathing the apnoea mattress they lay on would raise an alarm. “That was my first day with them. I just sat there in shock, I couldn’t help them in any way,” she said.

A week later she was told she could go home but without her babies. “I walked into my home and just sat in the babies room that I had ready. I opened the cupboard that had the talc powder in. It was the only baby smell that I had. It was horrible.”

It took until day 10 for Louise to hold one of her boys for the first time, but only for a few minutes because they would need to be re-connected to the oxygen.

At first the twins were too poorly to even go into the incubators. Both babies continued to have difficulties and it was one step forward, three steps back, but they were finally moved out of the hot room. However, at four weeks, both boys had brain haemorrhages and heart murmurs, and the doctors would need to operate if the drugs did not work. The boys were moved out of the incubatoLouise holding the twins.rs and back into the hot room. “It was devastating having them both back in the hot room, but they were safer,” she said. Every day was a struggle.

“It was a slow process for the boys to recover.
Day 53 was the first time that I held both my boys together in each arm. Every day from then I had around 10 minutes’ private time with them both.”

After nine weeks Louise was told that baby Jamie could potentially go home with her, but only if he fed well that night. She stayed in a room that was part of the hospital with her baby for the first time. Jamie was feeding from a bottle so that they could measure how much he had drunk, but he didn’t drink it all. Louise added, “I had to secretly throw the rest away as I couldn’t cope with not being able to take him home when they said I could. I couldn’t bare the thought.”

Jamie left the hospital on week nine. Harry left on week twelve as the doctors had struggled to slowly wean him off the oxygen ventilators.

Louise stressed that the hospital nurses and doctors were “fabulous, I cannot thank them enough. They stayed with me through the whole journey. They not only saved my children but they looked after me on this very emotional rollercoaster.”

Louise returned to John Radcliffe Hospital and started recording for the hospital radio as a thank you for everything they did for her family. She is played on radio Cherwell five days a week, discussing being healthy through the background of her business ‘Slimfit‘ and adds her love for music on the show too.

In 2009 Louise won ‘the best newcomer radio presenter in England’. Every two years Louise organises an aerobathon to raise money for the special care baby unit that saved her children’s lives.

“I never thought my babies would die. I never let myself think that. You either try and deal with it positively or you can let it get the better of you, but that isn’t me; there is no point.”

Louise is passionate that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. What would’ve been defined as a miscarriage in the worst-case scenario then, is now two 23-year-old, 6ft, loud and happy sons.


The Death Penalty

Death Penalty


  1. Punishment by execution

140 countries worldwide have abolished the practice of using the death penalty as punishment for crimes, yet still it remains used in many countries including the United States of America. The death penalty has been applied since 1608 for crimes such as murder. Since 1846, 19 states in the US have abolished the death penalty; however, the others continue to apply this punishment to certain offenders. It is now 2017: why is the death penalty still viewed as an effective punishment for the worst criminals who commit the most heinous crimes? Has this flawed practice outlived its purpose?

Pro-Death Penalty activists may argue that the punishment is an effective way in deterring potential felons. However, Professor Donohue of Law at Stanford University stated that, in 2014, roughly 14,000 murders were committed in America whilst only 35 executions took place.  The low ratio between committing the crime and the felon’s subsequent appointment of the death penalty, begs the question whether the punishment does deter others from committing murder.

With such a small number of criminals on death row reaching their execution date, how could this effect or change a murderer’s intent?

In essence, a key reason why many people think that the death penalty is a valid punishment for murders is retribution. If the perpetrator can kill or inflict pain on an innocent person, why can’t they be forced to suffer the same fate? This seems a reasonable argument, and for many family members of victims I can imagine their emotions drawing the same conclusions. The US government and the US criminal justice system have a responsibility to punish those who deserve it, and to the degree that their crime deserves.

The murder/killing of another human being is wrong, so why is killing on behalf of the state considered any better? As clichéd as it always has been, two wrongs do not make a right, and no good can come from another death and causing pain to the offender’s family.

Some think that the death penalty is a way for the government to save money, instead of spending money to keep the criminal incarcerated? Wrong: this is a misconception that causes many of the public to agree with the death penalty. The long period of the investigation and pre-trials hearings, followed by the judgement and the appeals, costs the tax payer far more than paying for the defendant whilst (s)he waits on death row. As the stakes are higher because of a potential miscarriage of justice in finding the wrong person guilty of heinous crime the criminal can appeal and thereby postpone their execution for up to 20 years after they are trialled in court. The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice stated in 2008 that it estimated ‘the annual costs of the present death penalty system is $137 million per year. A system that imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead would cost $11.5 million per year.’ In states such as Kansas and Tennessee the death penalty trials cost around 60% more than they would if the prosecutors were seeking a life imprisonment sentence.

With such large amounts of money being spent on single case ‘death sentence’ trials and appeals, why is this money not being used for resources elsewhere. There is an opportunity to increase and aid crime control measures. America is dealing with huge issues concerning gun crime, mental health treatment and rehabilitation for psychological and physical harm. The money spent on ‘executing’ the most dangerous of criminals could be put towards any areas of the criminal justice system that needs the investment.

The quality of the defendant’s attorney is a determining factor to the conviction and sentence. However, most of the defendants in death penalty cases cannot afford expensive attorneys. Hence, they are therefore appointed a public defender who is arguably underpaid and potentially lacking the trial experience needed when the Defendants life is at risk. The different level of experience between private and public attorneys, in serious death penalty cases, is shown prior to court trial and throughout. In the case WIGGINS v. SMITH, WARDEN, et al (2003) the two defendants were represented by public sector attorneys who failed to investigate further into the Defendant’s background, social history and mental health, which were key to proving their innocence or at least provide mitigating circumstances that may not result in the death penalty. This problem continues throughout many cases where the defendant’s attorney jeopardizes their chances of freedom and innocence.

Since 1973 there have been 157 innocent men taken off death row due to wrongful convictions, stated by the Death Penalty Information Centre’s innocent list. This can be due to new evidence, or more recently DNA results have shown criminals to be wrongly convicted. While a few lucky men have eventually been proven innocent, they have lost years of their lives. Similarly, it is undeniable that some who were innocent have lost their life through execution? From 1981 there has been 14 people proven to have lost their life from a wrongful conviction. Courts generally refuse to re-examine cases where the accused was subsequently executed, even if substantial evidence has come to light which could prove they were incorrectly found guilty. Therefore, we don’t know how many more people have lost their life for something they were unfortunately found guilty of. The death penalty cannot be worth losing one innocent life. Their family are also now made victims, just as equally as the original victim’s death in the crime.

How has America continued to allow this practice to take lives. With such ambiguity in every case, the risk of losing a life is too high. People argue it is worth it to kill the worst criminals. However, if it was their mother, father, sibling, spouse who was a victim of this injustice, would they hold the same opinion?

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