How Dangerous is Your Facebook Account?

There have been some articles appearing lately about how you should not announce vacations on Facebook, lest you set yourself up for a home burglary.  When I first read these, I thought, “no, duh, of course you shouldn’t post that stuff on Facebook if you have a public profile, and if you only have true friends on your Facebook, you should be fine.”  Since I’ve had a few days to think about it, however, I have rethought my stance.

My Facebook friends/followers, and people I friend, are only those that I know in person and have contact with other than just through Facebook.  They are people I work with, members of my family, members of my spiritual family, and other friends.  I often post status messages that indicate what I’m up to or what my plans are, and I still think, for the most part, if your friends list are people you know in real life, this is still a safe practice. But, and this is a big one that some people may not think of, when I post a response to a status message, wall post, or information post that someone else has made, suddenly everyone who is friends with that person has access to what I’ve said in those comments.

This means that if I brag to a friend on their trip to Phoenix by saying, “I’m headed to Chicago this weekend!”, then I’ve suddenly opened my plans up to people I do not know personally.  And while I may not have specific information on my Facebook about where I live, or even my exact name, the risk still exists that someone I don’t know can victimize me or my family.

The risk increases with teenagers using Facebook, as well.  My teens have Facebook, and plenty of friends on their list that I may or may not have met personally (but of course “know” in one way or another), and an innocent post or response to a comment could let out a whole lot more information than should be out there.  As we all know, our teens think they are invincible.

So I guess it’s time for mom to get out the “Internet is bad” hat and have a talk with the teens about their Facebook activities.  In this case, forewarned is fore-armed.