Of course privacy and security are big issues in the 'real world' as well. We lock our houses and cars, we install burglar alarms and some even avoid striking up deep and real friendships for fear that, one day, their friend could use their deepest, darkest secrets against them.
I have trouble to relating to people who fall too far into either category. I know some people who have a very laissez-faire attitude to such issues. They don't lock their car or house because they assume that theft 'won't happen to them', they put their address, phone number etc on their Facebook profile or blog or they open up to complete strangers about difficult, personal issues they are facing. I have met a few people before who, upon meeting me for the first time, proceeded to spill out all their troubles. Now, personally, I don't have a problem with this; I was more concerned for them! They obviously assumed I looked like a trustworthy person (or maybe I just have 'Counsellor' tattooed on my forehead) but for all they knew I could be an axe murderer...or the town gossip.
Then, on the other hand, you get the people who seem to live each day worrying and panicking about their own and their family's personal security. I hear about it a lot concerning Facebook. One spouse has a Facebook profile and puts photos of their kids online along with their names (but locks the profile or photo album). Their husband/wife doesn't have a Facebook profile, nor have they looked into what Facebook is like but they are NOT impressed by the fact that photos of their kids are online in case there are online paedophiles lurking around. Some bloggers who prefer to blog about the weather or a funny thing their dog did, can't believe that fellow bloggers share openly about their thoughts, feelings and happenings of a more personal nature. Then there are the people who choose small talk and shallow friendships over deep and real ones. I have actually heard some people declare themselves to be 'private people' and one person told me their frustrations about trying to develop real relationships, saying that conversations they have had with some people have only ever been banter.
So where's the middle? I have my own views on where I think the middle is, but I know others will disagree. That's fine, they can disagree in their heads all they like but I do feel judged sometimes when they verbalise it. I know some people probably don't approve of the things I write about on my blog and that's fine, they don't have to read it, but I don't feel I'm sharing anything inappropriate or anything I haven't already verbalised. I'm probably going to be seen as a bad mum one day (if God wills us to have kids) because I plan to put pictures of my kids on the net, along with their names, so that family and friends who are far away can see their progress. Personally, I can't stand shallow friendships; I don't see the point and sometimes we need to give of ourselves to our friends in order for the friendship to grow. Yes, that involves taking a risk because they might betray us, but I want to throw off surface level chit-chat and experience REAL fellowship.
But I do believe wholeheartedly in security and privacy. I don't have my address or phone number online. I only add people on Facebook if I know them (or of them) somehow. I'm just 'Sarah' on my blog for this reason. That's not hiding behind a persona as some bloggers would see it. Why do I need to give my surname? If I learn that someone is a gossip, then I won't trust them with anything personal. I don't write down passwords and pin numbers in case they fall into the wrong hands.
I don't want to be lax or naive and think that the world's a happy place, full of roses, but nor do I want to believe everyone's out to stalk me.
How about you? What are your guidelines concerning privacy and security issues?
Image is from countryporch.com