Are You Sharing Too Much Online?
In the 21st century, people live their lives online. This can be a good thing; on the internet, you can connect with friends who live thousands of miles away, get minute-by-minute news updates, and find information about nearly any topic.
However, there’s a dark side to all that convenience. If you use it too frequently, you might forget how many people you’re sharing that information with. This can easily lead to security breaches that cost you a great deal. To ward off any security issues that you might run into from sharing too much online, revisit the information you post every so often.
To make sure you’re being safe online, the most important things to check include:
- Your location
- Demographic info
- App connections
- Old, long-forgotten info
Sometimes, apps and websites need to know your location, whether precisely or generally. If you’re buying a physical item, you’re going to need to provide your home address or a P.O. Box. You’ll also need to share your location to use certain services; turn-by-turn instructions aren’t available on map apps unless you share your location. However, you don’t always have to share it.
Apple iOS specifically has a number of privacy settings that dictate who’s allowed to see your location and when. Revisiting those settings every so often is a good idea. On other operating systems, you can also see what apps are using your location, although it’s not always as in-depth. Check it out and see with whom you’re sharing your location.
Your demographic information covers all the basics: age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. Sometimes, it can also include information such as the amount of formal education you have and your hobbies. Think about a survey you’ve taken recently; if there were optional questions at the end about you personally, they were probably collecting demographic information.
Collecting demographic information isn’t always a bad thing. Scientific studies use demographics to make sure they’re taking a representative sample of subjects. And censuses use demographics to understand the people that live in different cities, states, and countries.
However, some advertisers can go overboard. Using your social media habits and internet browsing, some advertising agencies can pinpoint your information down to the type of diet you’re on. To make this targeting less specific, visit the settings on your favorite websites to choose who can see what information.
Many people use social media sites to sign-in on other apps. It’s much easier to log onto your Facebook account than it is to create a new account with a fresh set of login information. However, what happens when you stop using that app? If you’re like most people, you forget about it.
Unfortunately, if you don’t revoke access to your information, these apps will continue to use it. Thankfully, removing that app’s access usually only takes a few clicks. It’s important to revisit those permissions every few months to remove anything you’re not using anymore.
Am I Still Safe Online?
When you know about the different ways apps and websites can share your information, you’re more likely to be careful about what you share. However, any information you’ve already shared is still out there. Think you may have information left around the internet that you need to clean up? Stop by PeopleFinders first to try and find out for sure.
You know you can use PeopleFinders to try and check out other people and make sure they’re safe. But what you may not have considered is using it to check on yourself. Perform a background check using your information, and then verify what turns up.
You may be able to get an extensive list of public records data about yourself and, hopefully, an idea of the sources where that information came from. With that info in hand, then you can take the necessary steps to clean it up for good.
Online privacy isn’t impossible, no matter how difficult it may seem at first glance. You just need to stay on top of your privacy settings, and make sure you keep an eye on what you’re sharing with the apps and companies you deal with most frequently. PeopleFinders can help you try to complete your internet privacy checks.
If you’ve never considered using PeopleFinders to look through your own information, you may be surprised to learn about other uses for the website. Read the PeopleFinders blog to learn about those uses.
Image attribution: oatawa – stock.adobe.comTags: Online Identity, Online Safety, Safety Tips
Categorized in: Digital Identity