Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is It Safe to Share Online?

Lock.Shared by Tomascastelazo under Creative Commons License
Nowadays, more and more people like to use social networking sites and share their photos or videos online. A national survey in 2008 by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that about 90% of teenagers are online and have social networking sites and 80% send and receive photos and videos. But is it safe to share online? I think most people will reply: “Of course. I just sit in front of the computer, so I can do anything I want !” However, do you know the hidden dangers of sharing online? Sharing online can be very dangerous.

Strangers can know your precise location when you share a picture on a social network site. There is an article about the dangers of photo-sharing online on NY Daily News by Kimberly Palmer. She reports that a soldier's photo was stolen and posted on another website. Someone used it to control a woman out of thousand of dollars. A family photo was stolen and used as an advertisement in the Czech Republic. A mother's four-year-old photo was pulled out and posted on another website, and unexpectedly the tittle of the picture was "sexiness..." This article shows us some real-life examples about the dangers of sharing online. The picture that you share online not only can be stolen but also can show someone where you are by GPS. And the author suggests we should not share pictures casually and we should check our settings to make sure we don’t share personal information. 

Some users of social media are confused and think they are safe online. Although strangers know where I am, I’m still safe, right? And I will say, NO! Sharing personal information online is really dangerous! Russ Warner has written an article called Real Danger in Sharing Too Much Info Online on a website called “I keep safe”. He wrote, “Other consequences of information over sharing could include home burglary while on vacation or identity thieves taking your identity because you posted your birthdate, address, and cellphone number on Facebook. It’s called the “World Wide Web” for a reason—it’s worldwide.” He describes a girl sharing online that she was alone at home and then she was murdered by someone because the information she sent also showed her location at the same time. And the author suggests that parents use security software to monitor their children if the children like to share information online. Does that scare you? I feel really sad about this young child’s experience, but it shows us it can be so dangerous if you share too much personal information. I think if parents want to monitor their children, they should ask the children for permission first.

Some people realize the problem of over-sharing, and a company made an interesting app called “Snap Chat”. Here’s a video about Felix Gillette discussing the success of snap chat. Felix Gillette said, "The stuff will essentially live forever in the cloud...and the default setting for Facebook and Twitter is that the stuff will live for eternity in the cloud..." It shows the image we send will disappear in ten seconds by Snap Chat and it is the reason that most teenagers like this photo-sharing app: they think it provides security for them. However, does it really help? In my opinion, although the image will disappear, online friends still have some ways to save the image like by using screenshots. And someone has published an app on the internet called "Snap Save" that saves images from Snap Chat. Therefore, I still think it is not safe to share online.

Why do people want to share online? For communication. We want to build up relationships, so we choose to communicate by sharing things online. Because Digital Citizenship is defined as the appropriate and responsible behavior and effective participation in an online community, it intends to make people communicate safely, clearly and effectively. This blog shows the dangers of sharing online. That's the importance of this blog.

Most of the comments to my blog are that the dangers of sharing online can be avoided through some ways, so sharing online is safe. Maybe I didn't clarify my point clearly. "Sharing online can be very dangerous" doesn't mean I suggest not sharing online. I also share things online, but I never share my personal information. Nowadays we can see many people sharing their pictures online, and they are still safe. It is mainly because there aren't that many bad guys who want to pry into other people's affairs or kill people. Whether sharing online is dangerous or not actually depends on human beings.

An  anonymous commenter thought that parents don't have the knowledge about online security so that they aren't able to monitor their children. In response, I found an article called 13 Tips for Monitoring Kids’ Social Media ,I hope it will help. By the way, I really appreciate him helping me to clarify the meaning of my image. Even a good lock eventually rusts!

Actually I didn't have a blog before and I think neither do the other students. I really learned a lot during blogging, like I should choose my topic and find my private opinion, then use the keywords of the opinion to search on the Internet to find the most suitable sources and marshall them logically. It was really fun!


  1. This is a very thought-provoking blog post. As a parent, I wonder how to stay up-to-date on all of the ways my children could get in trouble on the Internet. You wrote "I think if parents want to monitor their children, they should ask the children for permission first." What if the children say NO? You are a 9th grader; would you give your parents permission to monitor your use of social media? And if you do give them permission, would they have the knowledge to search for all of your posts, images, and security settings to see if you are being safe? I think that would be very difficult for many parents to do. By the way, I Iike the photo you posted because it suggests that even with a lock we think is safe, it's quickly rusty (outdated) and doesn't provide the security we hoped it would. Thank you, runningman.

    1. Hi, Anonymous. Thank you for your contribution! As a child, I possibly do not promise them that they can use my account or check it because I will not feel comfortable about this and actually I never share too much information online. I think you are right, most parents aren't interested in social media, some of them even don't realize the danger about sharing online. But parents can still do something easy like checking the privacy settings and using filtering softwares that can help to monitor children's Internet usage. There's an article called "13 Tips for Monitoring Kids’ Social Media" on, I hope it can help you out.

  2. This post opened my eyes to the dangers of internet sharing. I think that yes, people need to be aware of what they choose to share online. That being said, I don't think it's at all necessary to live in a constant state of fear of "the cloud". There are some cases where people have shared things online and it had negative repercussions, yes, but think of how many people have shared a family photo and haven't been negatively impacted by it. People need to be aware, not scared. The dangers you presented can be easily avoided by making sure you don't overshare your information as well as being up to date with your privacy settings. Social media is meant to be enjoyed, and a big part of that is sharing. There is a safe, responsible way to share online, and if more people had knowledge of how to do that, I think that a lot of the types of cases you mentioned could be avoided.

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    2. Hi, Thing3. Thank you for your contribution! I understand your opinion, the dangers of sharing online indeed can be avoided if people take effective measures. However, the problem is that we haven't got any comprehensive ideas so far like the incident of "Snap Save". There's always someone tries to make the ideas lose efficacy. Did you notice the cover? It's a rusty lock, even a good lock eventually rusts. And as for "think of how many people have shared a family photo and haven't been negatively impacted by it," I will say, actually there aren't so many bad guys who want to pry into other people's affairs or kill poeple. Sharing online can be dangerous and it depends on human beings.

  3. This is a very good post. I liked when you talk about making sure we do not share too much personal information to stay out of danger. However i do think that sharing online is safe. Some ways to be safe while sharing could be to make sure you know what the website/ app shares and what it doesn't. If the website/ app has privacy settings you could also check that. if more people knew about what the privacy policy says then some of these bad situations could have been avoided.

    1. Hi, Thing2. Thank you for your contribution! I agree to let more people know about Privacy Policy, it can be serious. As for your opinion that there are some ways to be safe when sharing online. My answer is the same as the response to Thing3. After all, everyone knows that "there is no absolute data security anywhere", right?

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