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Social Networking and Protecting Your Privacy

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After a boring and semi-stressful day at school, you arrive home and turn on your computer. You log onto your favorite website, Facebook. You scroll down the news feed and your best friend posted his or her plans for the day. You keep scrolling down and your other friend posts their cell phone number and asking others to text them. As you keep scrolling down the page, you see other people post their plans, their daily life issues, their cell phone numbers, who they’re with and what they’re doing. Finally, you post a status. It would probably say something like; “Just got home from school, taking a shower later and watching TV, leave a text.”

The average Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any other social networking user can be categorized into two categories; the user that posts everything their doing in their lives and the user that actually cares about their privacy and doesn’t post what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, who they’re with and so on.

How would society cooperate without social networking and the ability to get inside everyone’s lives? Well first off, the amount of teenage drama will decrease. Ever engaged in a fight on Facebook because your boyfriend or girlfriend changed their relationship status to “single”, even though you two are just in a temporary argument? Have you ever seen a fight on Facebook? Social networking can bring up another issue, cyber bullying. For example, two users don’t physically fight on a website simply because that is impossible. Instead, they start a conversation in which both users insult each other through the keys on the keyboard and the fight eventually ends up turning into cyber bullying. Because social networking contains limited privacy, other users are able to view this fight. This could go two ways- they either laugh at the stupidity or they engage in the fight themselves by adding a comment to the conversation.

With the lack of privacy the internet contains, stalking becomes a common issue. What’s it like to be stalked on the internet? Post your pictures on Myspace, others will see them. Does anyone take the time to ask themselves, do I really want other people, even people I don’t usually talk to, to see these pictures? Pictures can speak a thousand words, especially the ones you post online. They can reveal where you live, what you do, what you wear and so on. And do you really want others to view those?

Post your personal information online and you can get a complete stranger to contact you. In worst cases, they can ask to meet you. Parents tell their kids when they’re little to never talk to strangers. The same rule applies to teenagers and even adults. Talking to strangers on the internet dramatically lowers your personal privacy as they invade into your life. Sounds dangerous? Unfortunately, many social networking users have had a conversation with someone they never met before in real life through a website. These people need to realize that posting your cell phone number, your address and even posting your plans for the day will increase your internet stalker list.

So to all users of the internet, be careful with what you post. Revealing a little information about you is fine, but posting personal information and contact information can lead to danger. Never give out too much information to strangers- you just never know who can view what you post.





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