Sharing details online about our lives has simply become ‘normality’, causing the line between public and private information to disappear. 99 per cent of 18 to 29 year old’s are on social media, and most are sharing too much information about themselves daily. While oversharing runs the risk of boring your friends, there are more serious security dangers that come with sharing personal experiences and information online.
I have friends who are obsessed with sharing anything and everything on social media. They feel as though it’s important to announce their every move, treating it as a normal function in their lives. Unsurprisingly, this immersion in the online world isn’t uncommon with more than half of 18 to 35 year olds believing people share too much about their personal life online. Personally, I’m barely on social media, I don’t have an Instagram or Facebook account. I’ve just never been really into it and I find it strange how people publically share so much about themselves to people they hardly know. I know I’m in the minority, but I’m concerned for the safety of others. In this day and age, a lot of people record and report their daily activities over social media as if it’s a normal function. However, this constant need to post your every move, along with the increased availability of location-based information is putting your privacy at risk.
We should all learn a valuable lesson from one of the most-talked about robberies in recent history. Last year, celebrity Kim Kardashian was robbed in a Paris hotel. The investigation found that her social media postings which demonstrated her whereabouts, wealth and belongings had actually significantly helped the criminals to execute their plan. Ultimately, real-time postings of her activities to a wide social media following severely impacted her privacy.
Posting about your activities several times a day can be dangerous, especially if it includes a specific location. Location-based services, allow for your whereabouts to be posted frequently and, as a result, can record a pattern of your movements. Regularly posting updates about your location and daily activities could easily give the wrong person detailed information to track you.
Last year popular social media app, SnapChat, introduced a tracking feature titled Snapmaps. It’s a feature that literally allows you to see where people are in the present moment. The feature has been dubbed as the apps ‘biggest privacy threat’ as it openly displays your geo-location while letting you track your ‘friends’ exact movements – even informing you how long ago they were in certain locations. Every time the app is opened, people are able to see exactly where you are, whether that be your university, your work or your house. This is just one example of how unnecessary intimate details of our personal information can be put out there for everyone to see. Doesn’t it scare you to think that people can have such easy accessibility to our movements?
Almost half of Australians say they are concerned about their online privacy, feeling as though technology is robbing them of their privacy. So why then do we keep giving pieces of our private life away? Social media has become something that’s part of our daily lives and as a result, over-sharing has become a very real and current issue. Stop for a second and think about the amount of information you’re handing to the public over social media. How many times do you post about or check-in at a location? How many pictures do you share in real-time of your whereabouts? You’re probably unaware of the amounts of ‘privacy’ you’re giving away every day.
When sharing information on social networks, it’s vital to be mindful of the implications and potential risks it can involve. Users need to learn to be more selective about what and whom you share information with. With social media constantly developing new ways to share information, it’s never been more important to be alert of the ways to safeguard your privacy online.