The gifts are unwrapped and we’re looking forward to 2018. There is a great way to ensure your family members use the new technology gifts they received this holiday (whether smartphones, tablets or Smart TVs) in the best ways possible. Examining and enabling privacy settings on all of your devices is the best way to ensure that your family’s information is secure in the New Year.
Smart TVs offer great features and allow you to consolidate all of your TV watching habits conveniently inside your TV. If you like watching streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, have them in the same place as your cable or satellite TV access. If you or a family member received a Smart TV this year, you are not alone. EMarketer estimates that around 170 million Americans used an Internet-connected TV in 2017 – a number that is only expected to rise next year.
So how do you get the most out of your TV watching experience and still have the privacy you get while watching your cable or satellite shows? Enable privacy settings by following these helpful steps from ConsumerReports.org:
Vizio TVs have a feature called Smart Interactivity that allows your device to send viewing information back to Vizio and its media partners. Some families choose to disable this feature as an extra layer of privacy.
- Turn off Smart Interactivity by:
- Opening the Vizio App on your mobile device
- Find Settings
- Click the Reset & Admin button
- Use the onscreen slider to turn off the feature
Similar to Smart Interactivity, Samsung has SyncPlus and Marketing features. These features allow the TV to send information about your family’s viewing habits back to marketing partners and to Samsung. To keep this information private, you can disable one or all of these information-sharing features.
- On newer models, click the settings icon on the main menu of the TV
- Click the support icon
- Scroll down to Terms & Policies
- Choose to accept or deny any of the various options
- On older models, check on the Smart Hub menu
- Look for the icon for settings and click support
- Find the Terms & Policy submenu
- Choose SyncPlus and Marketing and disable the feature
LG TVs don’t have specific names for the features they use for marketing and viewing data, but they do have a section for user agreements. You can choose not to accept some of the data sharing agreements without harming your viewing experience. Here’s how:
- Click the settings icon on the main menu of the TV
- Scroll to find General
- Click the About This TV Submenu
- Click User Agreements
- Opt in or out of multiple options
Smartphones and Tablets
Smartphones and tablets can also make hot gifts this year. Setting up basic privacy settings is a great way to start the new year, especially for younger users (who may be receiving and using smart devices for the first time). Here are some great tips provided by Common Sense Media for ways you can set up your new devices:
- Location Services: Turn off location services on apps that you don’t use for GPS. You can do this by going to your phone’s settings and checking out your individual settings for each app. On the location services section for each app, toggle to “Never” for those that you don’t use for GPS.
- Contact List: When downloading new apps, you do not need to say yes to sharing your data (such as your contact list stored in your phone or other asks) to use the app. This may seem like it is part of the download, but you do not need to do this to download the app.
- Privacy Settings: When downloading apps, enable all privacy settings. Privacy settings can be particularly helpful on social networks. Check out our previous post on social network privacy settings for more.
- Google or Facebook Logins: When it comes to ensuring the safety of your information online, variety can help. Though it can be convenient to always use your Facebook or Google login for different apps, you shouldn’t use it for everything. Keep all passwords safe by varying password use and usernames and creating unique logins for different apps.
Safety over convenience! Though there are some shortcuts that might make sense for the sake of convenience, many aren't worth the risk. Privacy settings are sometimes difficult to understand, which is why you should set them from the moment you start using your new products. That way, you don't have to worry about changing settings down the road.