MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Parents and grandparents -- a warning from Contact 6. Protecting your kids' privacy may seem tougher than ever with today's technology. But there is one thing you can do to help keep your family safe from people who want to find them.
Leanne Hock documented her annual family vacation on her cell phone.
"My iPhone takes such great pictures that we captured everything ," Hock said, flipping through digital photos.
Always concerned for her family's safety, Hock didn't post the photos online - and told her two teenaged boys to respect one rule.
"My husband and I told the kids you can't text or put on Facebook that we're on vacation," Hock said. "No pictures, nothing. We just don't want people to know we're away while we're away."
While on the beach, Hock took a minute to chat with a friend through Facebook messenger. But a minute later, a frightening photo was sent to her phone.
"is this where you are," she recalls the message saying. "This is what Facebook messaging is telling me, this is where you're located. And I looked at it and it was spot-on!"
It was a satellite image of the resort where she was staying and, Hock said, within 50 feet of where she was when she was using her iPhone.
"I could see where our room was, I could see where I sat at the pool, I could see where I would sit at the beach," Hock recalls. "It was all right on one screenshot."
Technology expert, Mark Chapman, admits the possibilities and consequences can be startling.
"When I'm carrying my phone around, or anybody's carrying their phone around," Chapman said, "you are carrying a GPS beacon -- people aren't aware at how much information your phone is set up to transmit and share."
Chapman says smartphones and many social media apps are designed to make life more convenient, but can also give away bits of information about where you and your kids are located.
"If you're taking a picture of your family or friends on vacation or what have you," Chapman explains, "you might be surprised that within that image, your phone might add information that's invisible - you can't see it in the picture - but if you post it online or you use certain software, you can see that this picture was taken at this place at this time."
Like a lot of people, Leanne didn't know she could manage her privacy settings, or even where they were located on her phone.
"At that time, i had my GPS locator on and I didn't realize that," Hock admits. "I didn't know that you could turn it on or off at that point and time."
So how do you do it? It's simple.
If you have an iPhone, like Leanne, tap "settings," then "privacy," then "location services." From there, you can choose which services and applications you want to locate you by sliding the bar on or off.
If you have an Android phone, it's "settings" then "location services." Here, you can turn on or off all GPS and Wi-Fi settings.
We wanted to see if Hock had learned her lesson, so during our interview with Mark Chapman, we called her up and asked her to upload a nondescript picture of her car. We then used locator services to track her down to Brookfield Square - to within four cars of where she was parked.
"Are you parked just outside of the main entrance by kind of a grouping of four cars towards the back of the parking lot," Chapman asks Hock via speakerphone.
Hock replies, "Yes, I am!"
Remember, you are always in control of who can find you and who cannot.