It’s good to vent once in a while, isn’t it? I vented last week in this blog over a few depressing things that happened at that time, because they were all things that were bumming me out. Having vented, it’s out of my system, and I’m moving move on.
My main topic this week concerns social media and the habit of “friending” anyone who asks. The basic idea of allowing a stranger access to your posts is to make connections. In this modern world, where we hardly know the people who live next door, having other vectors with which to nourish friendships can be useful. The danger lies in sharing too much with total strangers.
Posts as simple as “going to the funeral” can be used by less trustworthy individuals to ransack one’s home while one is away. Not revealing one’s home address or other vital contact information – telephone number, home address, even city of residence – can make it more difficult for predators to victimize you. Likewise, do not share the names and ages of your children online; the world is a scary place, with scary people in it. It’s too easy for a random person to pretend to be someone else to gain one’s confidence online, then spring a nasty surprise – ask anyone who’s done online dating if people always represent themselves honestly. The truth is, the Internet allows us a certain degree of anonymity when interacting with one another in virtual space – anonymity which less scrupulous individuals can and will use to their advantage.
I am every bit as guilty as anyone of friending nearly anyone who asks on Social media. I’ve grown a bit more cautious over the last year – not through any bad experiences of my own, thank goodness – but out of a sense that everything we do online can easily be watched by others these days, and it’s important to hold back a bit to keep safe. Have an Internet presence, yes, but be careful whom you share with, and how much.