Monday, April 22, 2024

Overshare much? New social networking study says that you are

The warnings aren’t just for kids anymore.

In an interesting study that proves that mom still spends most of her day talking, researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario have found that it isn’t just teens that aren’t taking the proper steps to protect their personal information on Facebook and other social networking sites.  Parents aren’t watching what they say either.

Ph.D. students Amy Muise and Emily Christofides say the findings suggest that, although teens spend more time online, parents have the same desire to have their posts ‘liked’ and to be popular on the social networking platform. This comes as no surprise to those who feel that the ‘like’ button on Facebook is something akin to a global high school hallway gone wild.

And so, this study begs the question: What types of things might be construed as oversharing?

Oversharing Facebook posts that can cause you physical harm or robberies

Posts that share information like vacation updates, the current status of your empty house, and exactly when you plan on being alone in that alley behind the mall, can be construed as Facebook posts that could result in your being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The incidence of robberies due to Facebook and Twitter posts is high, with some insurance companies in the US refusing to insure after breakins because they broadcast their status online.

Oversharing that can cause you humiliation and embarrassment

My kids aren’t on Facebook, but when I post stuff, I certainly keep in mind that I have children. The thing about the Internet? Once you post something, whether that be a picture of your naked kid running through the yard or a picture of yourself naked running through the yard (please don’t do this), it’s on the Internet forever. You could delete it on your account, but the fact of the matter is that once you upload it, it’s lost in the annals of the World Wide Web. If you are hesitating on pulling the trigger button, that should be a good indicator that you shouldn’t post it.

Oversharing can cause your children humiliation and embarrassment

I often feel sorry for teenagers on Facebook. When you see your mom talking about a romantic night out with her husband and you realize it’s your Dad she’s discussing? The shudder that goes up your back can practically be heard around the world. Although you might like to unfriend her, you can’t because then she can’t lurk on your profile and spy on what you are doing. Hopefully for you (if you are the teen) or your child (if you are the parent), you can refrain from posting your latest ‘flash’ photo on Splash Mountain.

Oversharing can cost you a job

The keyword here is ‘sharing.’ You may have applied for a job that you really wanted, or you are trying to land a contract that would make your life perfect. And you feel safe that your prospective employers can’t see your profile on Facebook or friend you without your knowledge. But you may not realize that your employer knows someone who knows someone and can gain access to your profile. It’s happens a lot. Be sure that the 600 people you ‘know’ on Facebook don’t know someone who wants to hire you. Or, at the very least, don’t post something like, “Ha ha, slept until noon again. Let’s see if I can sneak into work undetected.”

There is an old adage that works well here: When in doubt, leave it out. Rather than post willy nilly, be aware that thousands of eyes are on you (even eyes that you don’t think are on you. These are the ‘shared’ eyes I was talking about. Beware of shared eyes) and just keep it to yourself.



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