Protect Yourself on Facebook!

April 6, 2010  |  Facebook

Remember being 16 and feeling like you were invincible?  Your parents yelled “Be careful now!” as you flew out the front door to drive your friends to the local “shopping centre”.   (Hey… there were no “malls” or “gallerias” back then… only plazas and stores and “centres”. )   Careful?  We didn’t know the meaning of the word.  Heck, we didn’t even have to wear a seatbelt in the 70’s.  Looking back, it seems like a miracle that we all survived.  Flash-forward to 2010.  There’s a safety issue facing all of us now that’s every bit as critical as road safety… Facebook safety… (More…)

Seemingly overnight, young people have come to accept that it is “okay” to share the most intimate details of their private lives with complete strangers on Facebook.  Vacation pictures?  Check.  Name, city and marital status?  No problem.  Telling the world exactly when your family is going to be leaving town on holiday?  What’s the big deal?  As you can imagine, it is a VERY big deal.   The good news is that you can protect yourself.  The other news is, you need to be informed, vigilant and prepared to do the WORK.   My research indicates there are some 22 privacy settings that you can adjust on your Facebook page… everything from protecting your profile information to protecting your photos and your friends from a stranger’s prying eyes.    Take a look at the article by Kim Komando  in today’s Twitter Updates on the right hand side of this page.  Then go to your Facebook page and make it as airtight as you want it to be.  And remember… as the Duty Sergeant on that classic Boomer hit “Hill Street Blues” used to say:   “Be Careful Out There!”

Bookmark and Share


  1. You bring amazing perspective to all of this, Stephen.
    I feel your pain. Sometimes it all seems so irrelevant to the Boomer generation. Why is Social Media necessary in the world? A conference I went to last month talked about social media and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) like the Red Cross and Docs Without Borders. The panelists talked about their use of Twitter during the earthquake in Haiti, and how it revolutionized the way they were able to respond. People who had access to the technology were able to Tweet questions about exactly where they should be going on the ground with the relief supplies. Those who needed medical help could Tweet for that help and give rescuers their exact location. These people were able to get immediate responses from either native Haitians or the NGO workers themselves. Perhaps this is one way in which Social Media can benefit people in developing nations and/or wartorn countries in the future, too. Because internet service is slow and sometimes non-existent, twitter could become a trusted way of communicating whenever that communication is REALLY necessary.

  2. Stephen Douglas

    I’m a “grumpy old man” and can’t stand all this “social networming” stuff. I’ve got too little time, too little patience, too little stamina and would rather spend whatever time I have outside, inside, in bed, in the kitchen, with a good book, with a good friend or even by myself (sans computer).

    Besides, here in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Facebook takes 15 minutes to load… I have three friends and I really don’t need to read about someone’s comment on someone else’s photo or marital status. I don’t want to read about someone’s missives over Easter dinner. I don’t really even care if someone makes a new friend on Facebook… grrr… E-mail me. Write me a letter via e-mail or try calling.

    What’s the point??? Please, someone tell me “WHY” I should bother!

    Your “grumpy, overseas, Lud-i-tech-iot, (a made-up word combining Luddite and tech-idiot) foreigner”

  3. My children (now young adults actually) are constantly amazed when I comment on their “activities”. My response is the same every time. “If you don’t want the whole world to know about it then don’t put it on-line.” One of my kids has put me on a limited profile in her Facebook settings and won’t let me follow her on Twitter because she wants to keep that part of her life private from me. I’m fine with that because it shows me that she takes her privacy seriously. The big question is….do you?

  4. Parents with teenagers of any age should be on Facebook themselves, and keep an eye on what their kids are up to. Many times, they’re up to nothing but general chit chat and keeping up with friends, and parties and social situations.
    But as far as I’m concerned, if a teenager doesn’t have their parent as a “friend” then the teenager shouldn’t be on Facebook. Many parents pay little attention to what kids are writing on Facebook walls and e-mails. Nobody says you have to stalk the kids night and day. But it does help to keep an eye on things. You might also be slightly alarmed at the tone of some of the photo comments and wall comments. In some cases, civility has gone right out the window. It’s not unusual to see arguments develop on a wall, name calling, sometimes even threats. If you are aware of who is on your child’s facebook, you will also be more aware of any problems that might be developing, or happily, not.

  5. Sharon… Great observation re: the scads of time we usually invest in planning a vacation versus the pitiful amount of time we often spend securing our Facebook account. Often it takes a bad experience on Facebook to jolt us out of our complacency and force us to wake up and smell the Social Media coffee. Facebook can absolutely invite unwanted attention or something even more sinister. People who wouldn’t give a stranger the time of day on the street are inexplicably lulled into a false sense of security when dealing with total strangers online. If you’re exchanging comments with a friend of a real-life friend, you need to ask your friend: “How well do you know this person?” Could be a lifelong buddy. Could be a passing accqaintance. Could be someone they said hello to at a party last weekend. So yes, you’re right… We all have to “be careful out there!!!”

  6. One other very important point —
    Never post a status update, a photo or a note that you wouldn’t comfortably share with your family or your boss — because odds are one or all of them will see it or hear about it and even once you hit delete, there’s no “real” taking it back!

  7. It never ceases to amaze me how many of my business savvy, street savvy, worldly, well educated friends and business associates are so completely unaware of the presence of privacy settings on facebook and the importance of using them.
    For me, Facebook is primarily a social networking tool, however, having said that, I am certain that a solid 20% or so of my “friends” on Facebook are (select) business contacts.
    For people like me, who may use Facebook for fun and friends, but to a certain extent use it for business contacts, it is imperative to tailor what content is reaching what people.
    My “friend” — John Smith-Businesscontact really has no need whatsoever to see my personal family photos or perhaps even my day to day status updates (though I’m certain he’d find them endlessly entertaining)!

    We can sometimes dedicate hours or even days to let’s say, choosing a vacation destination. Sure it’s a financial investment and it s a week or so of your time that you want to treasure. Don’t you think we should spend at least as much time securing something like Facebook that we use daily for entertainment and social networking?? It’s really the only way we can ensure that Facebook remains something to “enjoy” in our life and not something inviting unwanted attention or something even more sinister.

    I’m just sayin’ ……..

  8. Seriously??? 22?? I’m not even sure where to begin!!

  9. I spend so much time watching over what my kids are doing – I forget to think about what I’M doing! Thanks for the heads up – checking my privacy settings right now.

  10. 22 privacy settings are set. Now even my friends can’t see me! Thanks for the reminder to be careful out there.

Leave a Reply