Half of the parties posted on the social networking website Facebook include the address and are visible to anyone, making them vulnerable to gatecrashers and potential damage, Sainsbury's Home Insurance has warned.
With Halloween coming up this weekend, parties which are posted on Facebook, without any restrictions on who can see them, could mean that hosts get more horror than they bargained for, if ghouls of a different nature show up at their home uninvited.
Unlike vampires, gatecrashers and trouble makers do not need an invitation to enter a house and make a nuisance of themselves, and anyone with access to the internet can view half of the parties posted on Facebook, so they can take their pick.
Having researched which parties were visible on Facebook, Sainsbury's Home Insurance warns that using social network sites in this way is increasing the risk of parties being gatecrashed, and Sainsbury's data shows that parties cause £16.8million of damage to parents' houses each year.
Therefore, Sainsbury's Home Insurance is urging homeowners to take precautions this Halloween to protect their homes, because even if they have home insurance, this may become invalid if the party has been posted on a social network and adequate care has not been taken to avoid damage being done.
Sainsbury's research suggests that more than a third of parties held by children at their parents' home ends in damage being caused to their property.
Over a five year period, of the 3.2 million parents whose children had parties in their home, more than a million suffered up to £100 damage to their property, while 17,000 homeowners admitted their children's parties caused between £1,000 and £5,000.
Ben Tyte, manager of Sainsbury's Home Insurance, said: "The growth of social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and more recently Twitter, has dramatically changed the way people invite their ‘friends' to parties. These sites can be a great way of organising an event but it's a real concern that so many people are prepared to post venue details that anyone with an internet connection can see.
"There have been a number of well publicised cases of homeowners facing thousands of pounds of damage after their children have posted invitations on Facebook, and Halloween parties, with many guests wearing masks and fancy dress, can leave homeowners particularly vulnerable to gatecrashers."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd