Military families urged to be cautious but not fearful on social media

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Lt. Col. Mary Constantino remembers the days when social media was a lifeline.

"I used it when I was deployed. You Skype. You Skype home, you see the family, you maintain that connectivity," said Constantino.

That didn't mean she connected with everyone, though,

"I had a couple of friend requests from people in Afghanistan," said Constantino. "I was deployed to Afghanistan. I didn't recognize the names, I didn't know who they were, I just didn't accept their friend request. It made sense not to make my information available to them."

As a public affairs officer for First Army on the Rock Island Arsenal, Constantino says taking those privacy precautions are a good idea for both military and civilian families. Cyber-security is not a new concern for the Army, but recent terror attacks and hacks have brought it into focus once again.

On Monday, the Twitter account for U.S. Central Command was hacked by ISIS supporters, who posted a message reading: "American soliders, we are coming, watch your back."

First Army says some simple steps, though, can keep families safe.

"It's being smart about what you put out there and what you expose to the world, not just to extremists," said Constantino.

The U.S. Army has put together a social media handbook that includes recommendations like not revealing schedules and event locations, turning off the GPS function of your smartphone, reviewing photos for sensitive information, and looking closely at privacy settings.

However, Constantino says that doesn't mean you need to delete all your photos or live in fear.

"Military families are very proud of who they are and what their solider does, and it's okay to be proud of that and to let people know that you're proud," said Constantino. "We don't need to cower in fear in dark corners because people are out there looking for information."

Instead, she recommends being smart about what you share online and who you share it with.

"You can do it, and you can do it safely," said Constantino.