(NEWS10) – When teaching our children about the web it is important to make sure they understand that the information they post can be seen by anyone and is there forever.
It may seem less intimidating than actually interacting with other people because there is a sense of anonymity. However, you are not really anonymous when you are online, and it is just as easy for people to find information about you as it is for you to find information about them.
Unfortunately, while most people would be wary of telling a stranger personal information on the street, they may post the same details to social media or the web. Once it is posted to the web, it can be accessed by anyone without knowing what they will do with it.
Here are some things to keep in mind to protect yourself:
- View the Internet as a novel, not a diary – Make sure you are posting information online that you don’t mind strangers knowing. Expect that anything you put online someone will find, even if you are keeping an online journal or blog, write it with the expectation that the general public will see it. If you would like to make the content private or restricted online may not be the best place to post.
- Be careful what you advertise – In the past it was much more difficult to find someone’s address or phone number but the web has made that a lot easier, especially since people are creating pages with a plethora of personal information. When deciding what information to share remember sharing an email address may lead to more spam. If you share your hobbies, job or pastimes that could be enough for a scammer to craft an attack specific to you.
- Realize that you can’t take it back – Once you post online it can usually be easily found by a Google search. You can try to delete what you posted, you don’t know if someone already saw it and possibly saved the content. Once something is out there, you can’t guarantee that you can completely remove it.
As a general practice, let your common sense guide your decisions about what to post online. Before you publish something on the Internet, determine what value it provides and consider the implications of having the information available to the public.