Data Privacy Day and Tips to Protect Your Virtual Information

January 28th is Data Privacy Day.  It seems we have a day for so many different things, however I believe that everyday people should be concerned about their privacy and especially their teens and kids informational online.  What are they putting out that there that they don’t realize could potentially put them at risk later?

Rebecca Herold, a Des Moines-based privacy expert, better known as The Privacy Professor explains with the rapid growth of technology, people should be more cautious about what they share.

“Too many folks adopt new technology without fully understanding how it may be capturing or distributing their personal, private information,” she said in a press release. “Whether it’s a smartphone tracking their location or social media sites repurposing their personal photos, often people are simply unaware of what’s being collected and how or with whom it’s being shared. People should continue to be concerned with ‘old-fashioned’ threats like phone scams and crooks digging through trash to find personal information on discarded paper documents and digital storage devices.”

Here are some of Rebecca Herold’s smart tips to help keep your information safe and private:

  • Read the privacy policy of websites you visit the most. Search for the word “share” and see if the website is open about how it distributes your personal information to others.
  • Double check privacy settings on social media sites such as Facebook. Read about its new changes and ensure it only shares what you want it to. Read about past Facebook privacy issues here.
  • Review people connected to you. Ensure you only provide access to your personal profile to people you trust and know well.
  • Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. Information may be private between you and your friends but friends can repost statuses and other information with/without your consent.
  • Secure your personal wireless connections.
  • Invest in a shredder to shred financial or other documents before tossing them.

You can follow Rebecca Herold on Twitter and visit her website.

Most  important, talk to your teens about what they are sharing online.  The fact that most college admissions and employees are using the Internet to screen their potential applicants can determine your child’s future.  Teen’s need to understand what goes online today, WILL be there tomorrow.  It may be funny today, and not so funny two years from now.

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