Safe Zone

Wednesday, 11 December 2013
So as some of you may know I run this blog but I also run the blog hellowonderful.net. From this blog I go to a few events, I do a lot of PR work, I run a Twitter account (hellowonderful_) and an Instagram but I also have a family life with my two daughters, two puppies, a boyfriend and a parrot. A lot of what I write and post concerns my personal life, from my family to where I'm going at what time and my Instagram especially is a little bit of a follow me around feed. Internet safety is something I feel has been rammed down our throats since we first set out online, for me in my pre-teens. Never disclose personal details, never meet anyone that you have met online, don't give out your address - well, that's what I do on a day to day basis. Some of my closest friends I have met online plus a few past boyfriends, my address is given out to PR's and online friends for things such as secret santa's and giveaways and personal details? My online life s littered with them.

A few weeks ago on Twitter I joked that the best way to murder a blogger would be to pose as a PR offering free NARS samples. You'd have access to their Twitter, Instagram, blog, address - seemingly so few accounts but they hold a wealth of personal information.

I try to keep safe. I use my surname as I am a writer and I want my work, blog, photographs etc to be linked back to me as a person especially for portfolio building. I don't mention which school my daughter goes to or what area in the city we live in but, it really wouldn't be too difficult to find out. Looking through my Instagram photos anyone with even a slight knowledge of the city I live in would be able to tell the street and house I'm in just from the view from my living room window. I'm not safe online, someone could easily find me if they wanted to and it'd be even easier to contact me to harass me and make my life hell. It would probably even be easy to stalk me. That's scary.

I don't think I'll ever stop doing what I do. I love doing it and I love the response I get from the people I meet and talk to online. However I do want to keep safe and I do need to look at some things and maybe have a re-jiggle of priorities. Simple things such as not showing the exact area in which I live, not telling people when I'm alone at home or there's nobody in the house, not sharing my address to anyone except the people I absolutely have to, checking photos for stray bills or bank cards in the background (any indication of very personal details) etc. I don't do this to excess but it's alarmed me that I have when I thought I was being responsible.

There's a lot that comes with being a blogger that may be a good thing but could also be used against you. Yes, you love your pedigree dog but what if someone wanted to use him for a dog fight in your area and your online identity lead them to your real life identity? It doesn't bear thinking about let alone if you replace your pedigree dog with yourself or children. We trust that there is no malicious intent behind the people who read and see what we do online and that's basic human nature but I truly think we should be slightly more careful even if we are not thoroughly vigilant about policing and censoring ourselves.

To find out more about keeping yourself safe online you can check out Norton's guide to protecting your privacy and hopefully it will help you just give a thought to the things you share even if, like me, it'll never cut it completely.

How do you protect yourself online?