Geek Girl Report: Too Much Sharing Can Be A Bad Thing – Things To Try To Avoid Posting On Facebook
There is such a thing as too much sharing, especially on social media. One of my biggest pet peeves is people sharing way too much information on Facebook. And I'm not just talking about how much they had to drink last night or how much they hate their job or their significant other. (though those aren't the best things to post to social media either...) It's staggering to see how many people are so eager to put all of their personal info and every detail of their lives on display for the world to see. And for exes, identity thieves, criminals and stalkers to see as well.
Now, I'm not saying you should never post on Facebook or Instagram or other social media sites. Being active on social media is a great thing, and for some, it's the only way they can contact old friends and faraway family. But sharing too much information could leave you wide open to identity theft, scams, and all sorts of nastiness. So if you're serious about keeping yourself safe on social media, here are some things you should be cautious about posting.
Your Full Birthday and Place of Birth
It's nice to get a lot of well-wishes and greetings on your Wall on your birthday. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Birthdays and places of birth are some of the most common bits of info that identity thieves need to steal your identity and start wrecking havoc with your life. It's really best not to post your birthday at all, or at the very least leave off the year you were born in. (your real friends should know how old you are, anyway) But if you can't stand to go without the birthday wishes, try entering in a date that's few days before or after your real birthday. That way you'll still get all the birthday love without sacrificing your privacy.
Your Current Location
Sure, checking in at Facebook Places or Foursquare is fun and may even get you some goodies, but telling everyone where you are may not be such a good idea. For one thing, it's very annoying. But more importantly, you have just broadcast to everyone that you're not at home and there's no one keeping an eye on your home and your valuables. This is especially true if you're about going on a long vacation. It's fine to be excited about a trip, but try to avoid posting the exact dates you'll be gone. The only people who really need to know that are your family and your boss. If you really want to brag about your vacation, wait till you get home and post the pics from your vacation.
Even on short trips, you should still be cautious about posting your exact location. Unless you have ridiculously overly-protective parents or the like, the only people who really want to know where you are every second of every day are stalkers. Don't give them that chance.
Obviously, if your kids are old enough to use Facebook, this is a moot point. But I see proud parents all the time posting pictures of their newborns and babies, and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with being a proud papa or mama. But you should be very careful about the kind of information you post about your children. Kids are a very popular target for identity thieves, especially if you post their full name, place of birth, date of birth and the like. If you post pics of your kids, supply as little personal information about them as possible. Family and friends should already know your kids' name and info anyway.
By the way, if you post pics of your kid at social events like birthday parties or school plays, you should first check with the parents of the other kids in the photos and make sure it's OK to post and tag their kids in the photos. Some parents don't want pictures of their kids tagged on Facebook for the reasons I just mentioned above. It's not just a security thing, it's common courtesy.