Are you safe online?*

I have been using various social networking sites since the days of Bebo and Myspace from the age of around 14/15 when they first really became popular and then later I started to use Facebook and Twitter. I guess I have always been pretty sensible when it comes to sharing personal information over the internet even when people use to ask your "A/S/L" I would never even say the name of my local town I would only ever say England or the county that I lived in. Even now I am older I make a conscious effort not to reveal too much about where I live, where I work or where Thomas goes to nursery.

There are so many horror stories around where young teens have started talking to much older people who have lied about their age over the internet and they have agreed to meet up and terrible things have happened. It worries me that I have younger cousins on Facebook are they being safe do they know not to share too much on social networks? Are they aware that people aren't always who they say they are? Maybe online dangers should be something that is introduced at school if it isn't already especially after the news that Facebook is lifting restrictions for sharing amongst teens Before they use to only be able to share updates between friends and friends of friends but now they have the choice to change their privacy settings so they are able to share things publicly.

It also surprises me how many people publicly share when and where they are going on holiday leaving their houses empty and open to burglars.According to an article on Norton's website a third of people in the UK will post when they are going away and leaving their house empty and then in their next status update they will brag about the new 42" TV they have just bought. It makes the mind boggle just what some people will do without thinking. 

I think bloggers are particularly known for sharing or perhaps over sharing some might say but one thing I will be extra careful about when Thomas grows up is when I take photos to be careful that there is nothing revealing in the photos like a book bag in the background with a school logo showing. I've seen photos on somebodies blog post in the past where they have been reviewing something and have the packaging to the product showing with their address and they haven't noticed.

When Thomas is old enough to start using the internet I will definitely be monitoring what sites he goes on and I will be putting parental controls on the computer. It's not just to stop him from talking to strangers over the net but also I don't want him venturing on to sites that young eyes shouldn't be looking at because what could be an innocent search could lead him on to inappropriate sites.

What do you think? Are you as safe as you can be online? Do you worry about your children when they use the internet?

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