For more background, read "Internet Identities"
As someone who teaches self-defense, I'm growing increasingly concerned about the careless risks some women take on the internet. Here are just a few recent things I've encountered that I'd like to pass on as warnings:
1. Please don't think that your "private" email list of you and hundreds of your closest, trusted friends, all hosted by Yahoo, is really private. Can you personally vouch for every single one of those hundreds upon hundreds of other people as being trustworthy enough for you to disclose your innermost thoughts, feelings, personal information, and deep dark secrets to them? If you don't want your emails to them going outside of that special circle, do you really want it going to the hundreds of strangers inside that circle?
2. Please don't think that the lady who sits next to you at church...or your pastor...or your employer...won't ever stumble across what you've written online that you hope they will never find out.
3. If you like keeping a journal that you really don't want strangers to read, don't throw that journal up onto the internet. If you do have a public blog, people will assume that you actually want it to be read. It will only make you look silly if you get your knickers all in a twist over people reading and discussing what you've posted!
4. If you do have a blog --- unless you keep it private by carefully restricting access to it --- you should expect that anyone...ANYONE...can read it. That means people you don't like, people you don't know, people who might want to harm you, people looking for someone to victimize, and people you might never expect to read your blog --- like your husband, pastor, employer, or the little lady next door.
5. Don't give out too much personal information. Even on your blog or myspace page or whatever. You don't know who could be reading what you've written.
6. Just because you delete an email you've already sent, or a blog post you've already made public, doesn't make it vanish. You don't know what someone may be saving on their hard drive. You don't know what feeds and readers may have picked up your blog post. You don't know what archiving systems may be in place. As some people warn, the internet is FOREVER. Choose your words carefully and wisely.
Your safety may depend on it. So may your reputation. So may the reputation of our precious Lord and Savior.
Be careful out there. Please.
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