Monday, September 8, 2008

11 Internet Cautions

The internet is a critical part of many people's lives, however simple actions online today can have lasting repercussions. Here's some things to remember:

  1. Never have a photo taken of yourself that you wouldn't want your grandmother to see. Once a photo is posted online it is there forever.
  2. This goes for videos too. This especially includes sex videos even if it is with someone you trust (it's surprising what trustworthy people will do when they are seriously pissed off).
  3. If you are going to rant at someone, take a deep breath and wait until you calm down. If you still want to rant at them, do it in person. Anything you put in print can and will be used against you. It will also be circulated through email, blind copied to your boss, and generally spread throughout the net. Also, if you do it over the phone, it is possible that the call will be recorded (generally only one person needs to know that the recording is being done and it won't be you) and spread around the net as well.
  4. Be careful what you say in chat rooms and instant messages. These can be saved, emailed around, and used against you in court. Note the (numerous) cases of the online sex predators who have been arrested and charged in part because of their chat logs.
  5. Use good passwords, disable fire sharing, and secure your internet connection so that others can't hijack your system and incriminate you in some way.
  6. Be careful what you write on your blog, website, My Space page, and in your profiles. Anything you write (ie: my boss is a f%&*ing idiot and here's some of the things he has done...). Even if you take it down, it will still be hovering in the webosphere and someone is guaranteed to find it and get it back around to your boss, your future employers, etc.
  7. Look at anything you post and consider how others could interpret it. You may be using a racist phrase from a song to make a point, it could be read by someone who has no idea about the song and/or take it out of context, and then you will be branded as a racist for the rest of your life.
  8. Don't put your personal info on the web. The less information people have about you, the less likely they will be able to find you if they suddenly have a psychotic break and decide to go all stalker on you.
  9. Know that everything you do online is tracked including the ISP you use, which location you signed in from, how long you were online, which websites you looked at, etc.
  10. Look at your overall presence online as the reputation you are generating about yourself. In a small town people get to know you, people talk about you, they exchange information about what you do or don't do, and your reputation is developed. It is a similar process online. Often people don't realize that the shield that the internet seems to put between people doesn't cover up the reputation they are developing over a period of time, whether or not it is completely true.
  11. Google yourself and see what comes up. It may be quite the eye-opening experience. Note that this is also what future clients, employers, social contacts, and others can do just as easily. What will they find out about you?


  1. Great advise.



  2. I find it mind-boggling to see the kind of info young people post on social sites these days. I'm from the older Web generation and we were all about privacy and security. Nowadays it seems kids are looking to be as open as possible, without realizing they could get really hurt.