I’d like to ask you something. Would you hand out flyers to strangers on a busy road. Flyers with info about what you do, where you live, where you go out to, who you eat lunch or dinner with and where? Flyers with info about where your kids go to school, what they wear, what they do wrong (or right)? Flyers with pictures of you children, pictures of you on vacation, pictures of your favorite places?

No? Why not?

I have another question. What do you post on Facebook or any other social network? If you now say nothing, then you might as well stop reading. I would like to share some thoughts about social networks and the way we deal with them with the ones of you who are interested in it.

Image result for facebook images sharing

I know that we all have different opinions and that we all use social networks for different reasons. For some it’s nothing else but a business tool. For others it’s a way of staying in touch with friends and family and sharing things on a daily base with them. For others it’s about sharing everything with everyone.

I’m not telling anybody what to do, what’s right or what’s wrong. All I want to do is provoke some thoughts.

I asked you a couple of lines further up if you would hand out a flyer with all kind of personal information to strangers on a busy street. Most of us would probably say no. And still we do. Facebook is in a way nothing else than a flyer with all kind of personal information handed out to people. Depending on how strict we keep our privacy settings those people are only close friends and family. But in some cases all those information is out in the open.

The moment you put something on Facebook (I’m only mentioning Facebook as it’s the one social network I know best) you lose control over who can see it. No matter how tight you keep your privacy settings. I know what I’m talking about as a friend of mine has shared posts of mine. And that’s where I lose control. You have no control whatsoever over your friends and families habits, no control over their privacy settings. That’s where it gets tricky.

Even if you only share pics of you children in a close kept group, those pictures might be passed on by them to their friends and who knows where else they might end up. Do you know how easy it is to get your hands on a picture of someone on someones Facebook account? Pretty easy. The app I use on my mobile phone lets me save a photo and then I can basically do with it what I want. And I’m not a very tech savvy person.

I’m not going to tell you not to share anything anymore. I just want you to consider what doors you might open.

There is the example of someone I know who posted on FB that she can’t wait until they finally come in to fix the back window that doesn’t shut properly anymore. Then, a couple of days later, she posts about how bored she is, sitting at home all by herself… I’m a friend. I don’t have any bad intentions but what if someone with a nack for it picks up on it? Now he knows that there is a broken window and she’s all by herself. Invite here you are…

Image result for stalker person

I have another friend who drives his wife crazy because he always posts when he is leaving overseas for work. Wife and children at home by themselves and he is miles away.

We tend to share things now on social media, we would have never ever put out there before this hype started. Maybe we would have mentioned to the neighbor about going away but for sure not the entire town (okay, in some cases it might have been ended up being the same…). We share things we would have not blurted out in public. We post pictures our best friends would have blushed.

With some of that stuff I really wonder why. I get that you feel an urge to share pictures of your children, especially when they did something that made you proud. I get that you want to share it especially when you live abroad. I get that you want to share things that make you happy or maybe frustrated or sad. Still. You might never be able to close the doors you might open in doing so.

I just had to share these thoughts as they were provoked through comments on this post. The story might be far fetched. Maybe it’s not even true. But can you see how it could happen? I totally can. Have you heard of Madeleine McCann? The girl who went missing in 2007? I’m sure you have. One of the theories in her case is that it was a planned abduction as the parents had made bookings to the restaurant via the reception desk of the hotel and they also told the personnel that the kids would be in the room while they were out. So the possibilities that a couple of people worked together in this is huge. Now take the story from my previous post… You post a picture of your girl on holiday. A creep shares it with a pedophile who then orders the girl and now someone picks her up and she is half way around the world before police even gets there…

Does that sound paranoid? Maybe. But you know what: I’d rather be slightly paranoid than sorry…

24 thoughts on “Over-sharing

  1. Neither of us want to be on Facebook in any shape or form. For me, it was touch and go in the beginning with my blog, and I was wary of posting personal photos. There are hundreds of pictures of children in google images that were appropriate for posts I was writing, but I never used them (unless cartoon) in case someone used them for illicit purposes.
    Texting, internet chat rooms and the like, how do you know you’re talking to the person ‘you’re talking to’ and not some creep with evil/cruel/bad intentions?
    I read about someone who posted about their 18th birthday party on Facebook. They were invaded by over 500 strangers who trashed her parent’s home.
    I have never been interested since, if it ever entered my head in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While my Facebook only contains family and friends I know and trust, ultimately I’m not responsible for what photos/status of mine they decide to share. Excellent points to keep in mind for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Treating the rare, worst-case scenario as if it’s likely to happen isn’t all that helpful, and the speed of digital communication is making it worse. You’re worried about an abduction that happened in 2007, a case so unusual that it seems people are still obsessing about it. You do know what kids are much more likely to be abducted by people they know, often a non-custodial parent?

    A commenter above read about a girl who posted about her 18th birthday party; 500 people showed up and trashed her parents’ house. This kind of thing happened long before social media. Word would get out in a high school, neighborhood, or town, and a teen party would be crashed and plenty of damage done. The real question here is where were the parents? Did these 500 people show up all at once and trash the house? I doubt it.

    There are plenty of ways to limit your exposure on social media, and sooner or later we’ve all got to figure out what works for us. Social media is a performance space, among other things, so if we’re wise we’ll pay attention to what our audience — our friends and various connections — is interested in or will at least tolerate. (When you talk about “over-sharing,” I think of people who share nothing but memes or nothing but photos of what they had for dinner. I tend to block these people’s posts from my news feed.)

    People who don’t use social media or don’t use it much often have an exaggerated idea of the dangers, maybe because the widely circulated horror stories they’ve read about aren’t balanced by any practical experience. As with so many other things, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. I was wary of Facebook before I finally joined up 4 1/2 years ago. I already spent enough time at the computer for both work and play. I was afraid FB would pull me further away from the real-world community I live in. But it hasn’t. It’s gotten me more involved in face-to-face activities than I’d been for a long time.


  4. I think if I had children I would take a much different view on how I use social media. Whenever I see friends posting pictures of their little ones, especially in swimsuits (or heaven forbid, in the bathtub!) I do a little cringe. Ok, so you have 800 “friends” on Facebook, but chances are many of them are people you haven’t seen in 20 years or so. What do you really know about them? Anyone on your friends list can download any of your photos and then you lose complete control over where it goes from there. I’m sorry, but just the thought of some creepy pedophile getting hold of those pictures…it gives me the chills.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m always on the fence on this topic. On one end, I post a good amount of photos on my personal FB, but privacy is strictly among close friends. But I am also conscious about what I share on social media, who reads it, and what happens if a stranger reads it. The one thing I avoid is checking in on Facebook real-time as it tells people where I am. I don’t post pictures until our family is no longer in that place. On the other end, I see social media personalities, mommy bloggers, who “overshare” and somehow are still fine. I see many photos of children on Instagram. One mom even posted her NY apartment address in her blog, which bothered me, because she has hundreds of thousands of followers. She’s in the news, too. She’s not only oversharing, she’s over-exposed. But I don’t see our worst fears happening, thankfully! And I think a lot of it has to do with the adults being responsible. I think at the end of the day, the more important thing is the amount of caution we exercise in our social media activities AND in real life. This is a great topic and always good to bring out for discussion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I understand the post all too well, and there is definitely such a thing as oversharing. I think it’s a reflection of the world we live in now though and it’s why we love social networks and some of us even turn to our blogs – we want to feel connected now more than ever and we can attach a lot of importance to how many likes, shares etc we get for what we post. How many of us would blog if no-one read our words?!

    But it’s also a sad reflection of the world we live in now that we have to think about what we post, what can be shared, who can see what.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I recently got back on Facebook after being off of it for over six months. It was great to be away from it; I only rejoined because we live over 1200 miles away from our home and I began feeling more and more out of the loop. I definitely share way less now because after being off of it for awhile, when I see the stuff people post, share, etc., I shake my head and think, what was the point of all that?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Share Your World – 2016: Week 46 | A Momma's View

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