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Location services, Foursquare promise danger, but also wonder

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Foursquare Labs, Inc.

(Read caption) Location services and social media applications including Foursquare, Facebook, and Google Plus give users the option of 'checking in' their location with their social network.

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Thanks to technology, the difference between our lives and our maps is increasingly eroding – we not only know where we are, but the map (and the world) knows where we are, too.

Facebook and more specialized services like the popular Foursquare app provide a stream of information about what your friends are doing and where they are, but also give you the chance – or the obligation – to "check in" at a physical location and thereby broadcast where you are and what you're doing. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that "39% [of adult smartphone users] say they check into places on Facebook, 18% say they use Foursquare, and 14% say they use Google Plus, among other services."


Naturally some parents are less than thrilled with the new rise of "hey, world, track me down at this specific location" apps, but the reality for teens is more complicated than that, and such services actually offer young people a number of advantages that their parents and grandparents might have enjoyed as teens. But first, a few of the potential downsides to smartphone-based location-based services:


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