Friday, October 23, 2009

Internet Safety {PaRt 2}

Over the last couple of weeks I've researched ways to keep your family safe, while still using blogs, facebook, etc. Below I've listed a few ways that you can help keep weirdos from finding your blog.

1. Keep your blog private. Blogger allows you to send invitations to people to view your blog. Those are the only people that can see it and must be signed in to view it. (We actually didn't do this with ours bc we didn't think our grandparents would sign in to a google account every time they wanted to see pictures of the great-grandchildren.)

2. Don't put your last name on your blog. I learned this from a Marine friend. He has the scoop on intelligence stuff and he told us a while back how by just knowing your last name, people can find you easily on the internet. So make sure your blog address, title, description, profile, info, etc. do not include your last name. We make sure to only use first names when writing about ourselves and children.

3. Don't let others link to your blog. If you only want those who know you to read your blog, its smart not to let your friends have your link on their blogs. The more links are out there, the greater the chance of blog stalkers to come across yours.

4. Make it unsearchable. This is my favorite feature of blogger. It allows you to make your blog unsearchable using Google, Yahoo, etc. So if someone knew your name and googled you, your blog will not show up in their search results. I'm sure other blog platforms such as Wordpress allow this too. Even if someone wasn't searching for you specifically, but let's say they typed "baby photos" in Google. If you mentioned anything about baby photos on your blog, your link could potentially come up in their search results. Scary huh?

5. Don't post city or address. This one may seem obvious, but be sure not to post what city you live or your address. Again, just by knowing your town and last name, someone could walk right up to your front door. On this same note, never post which parks, malls, etc that you take your kids too. If you want to plan a play date, don't use specific info on your blog but instead have those interested email you.

We made all these changes to our family blog lately (except #1). We completely changed our blog address, made it unsearchable, etc. Then I sent an email out to all of our family and friends with the new address. I asked them to save it in their Google Reader or as a bookmark, and to take off the link from their site. By doing this, we are hoping it will decrease our traffic to only those who we have given the link to instead of it coming up in google searches, etc.

As far as Facebook goes, the jury is still out on this one. I have been researching but still am not sure if there's a way to guarantee only people you know see your info. I have all my settings on "friends only." This means that no one besides people that I have approved as friends should be able to see my news feeds, status updates, photos etc. And here is a crucial point. If you upload photos of your kids to share with high school friends or whoever, be sure to go into Album Security and click friends only. If you notice, on the sidebar on FB, if you have a friend who is tagged in an album, you can view the whole album, even if you don't know the person who owns the album. This will prevent that from happening. It should also prevent your friends from sharing the album.

While doing all these things can help, its still up to us as parents to use discretion and common sense when it comes to the internet and the safety of our families. It's sad that we have to be so worried about all this. My next step is to make sure that my photography information that's on the web gives as little info as possibly while still allowing interested clients to contact me.

I'm hoping our next posts will be lighter in nature :)


1 comment:

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