Constant holiday updates on social networking sites are a handy way of letting your friends know what you are up to.
But there may be others who have a more sinister interest in your online posts.
Opportunist thieves are able to track down an address from a website posting within 60 seconds, research found.
Risk: When holiday plans are posted on Facebook, thieves are able to track down addresses within 60 seconds, researchers found
A quick check on their family name and, for instance, the name of their child’s school, cross-referenced with online address databases soon revealed the exact location of their home.
And as they are on holiday, there is a high chance the home is empty, said the authors of the study conducted jointly by Co-operative Travel and Co-operative Insurance.
Half of youngsters update their status when they are about to go on holiday, and these can be read unless they have sufficient privacy settings.
And the growth of wi-fi and internet connections abroad mean they are also telling everyone where they are while away.
Almost half of ten to 15-year-olds (45 per cent) own smartphones which enable them to update their location, status and other details on a much more regular basis.
The survey of 3,000 Britons found that 44 per cent have Facebook friends or Twitter followers that they have never met.
And 37 per cent have insufficient privacy settings to stop strangers looking into their accounts – including potential burglars.
Facebook insists the default settings for under-18s are strict enough to stop posts being read by strangers.
Trevor Davis, Director of Retail Distribution for The Co-operative Travel, said it was no longer enough to simply double lock the front door and stop milk being delivered.
He said: ‘The traditional precautions people take to protect their homes whilst they’re on holiday are being undermined by the growth in social media.
‘This is particularly true for families with teenage children, who perhaps aren’t as aware of the need to avoid telling strangers that your house will be unoccupied.
Idyllic destination: More of us are logging on to Facebook and Twitter while we’re away and potentially telling thieves our properties are empty
‘This year’s holidaymakers are likely to be particularly vulnerable, due to the growing availability of wi-fi connections in hotels and resorts.
‘This is allowing people to keep updating their accounts while abroad and inevitably raises the awareness that the user is away from home.’
Co-op researchers went online to look at social media sites, including Facebook and Foursquare, to see how easy it is to trace an address for someone on holiday.
The quickest discovery took just one minute.
The posting said ‘heading home to pack my case cause me going on holiday for few days’.
Using the person’s surname and hometown, the researchers found just two addresses in that town for that surname.
Another message said ‘is it wrong to be going on holiday on Friday and wishing you weren’t’.
It took just two minutes to track the person after finding the name of their school in an earlier posting and matching their surname to an address near the school.
Another search took just three minutes. The status update said ‘has landed’ with a smiley face. A few hours later their location had been tagged as ‘Manchester Airport’.
A local town was mentioned and there were four addresses in that town relating to the poster’s surname but only one which also matched his name and his mother’s.
But a Facebook spokesman dismissed the findings as ‘scaremongering’, saying: ‘It is ridiculous to suggest that using Facebook puts people at greater risk of being burgled.
‘On Facebook, people have total control of their privacy, and the default privacy setting for our location service Facebook Places shares your location only when you ask it to – and only with your friends, while default privacy settings are even stricter for under 18s.
‘Despite the scaremongering of insurance companies using social networks as a hook for headlines, recorded burglary rates are actually falling.’