I am on-line *a lot*. And some of my best friends live in m computer. But, there are a lot of crazies out there!!
My boys are getting to the age that they want to play more on-line games. The requests for sign-ups comes pretty much every weekend (no weekday video games here during school).
So, the lectures have started.
Don’t give your full name.
Nobody needs your address or phone number–EVER!
Don’t share where you go to school.
It’s easy for people to lie through a computer.
And on and on… I generally don’t stop until they’ve done a minimum of 4 “yes mom”s and a couple eye rolls.
More than them though, I think we all need a little reminder about how unsafe the cyber world can be. If you’ve never been to spokeo, go there now, put your name in and be prepared to freak out a little. The first time I went, I saw a photo of my house, with my car in the drive & you could read my plates. My address, car & babies were that easy to find.
With our less-than-typical family, we have to be extra cautious and all of that was right there! So, I made sure to get my info off that site…
Then I did a little more, too.
I wanted our phone & address to be unlisted. You may not know this, I was clueless, but the phone company charges a monthly few to be unlisted. They do not, however, care if you change your name. Go ahead, be creative.. Change it to Regina Phelangie 😉 No charge & I get a giggle when I get junk mail, too.
Next step, see where you can be found–google yourself and your spouse. My guy is out in the public for work, there’s not a whole lot we can do about it, but, thankfully, it doesn’t lead to our doorstep. I am all over FaceBook & you *might* find this blog if you really search.
But, I *try* to keep my settings on FaceBook where I feel comfortable & I do try to keep my kids personal info off of here.. I share their faces and smiles and stories, but I avoid naming their school. I crop our address out of photos.
And, the last thing (but, maybe it should be the first..?), I have tried to co-parent my kids in a way that would give those other relatives no need to find us. We keep a PO Box, we are willing to share information. When we were actively fostering we made every effort to respect the biological parents and keep them in the loop.
I think it’s silly to assume you’re safe. I am pretty sure anyone reading this could find our address somehow. I just try to keep an extra layer, make it a little harder, and live in a way that nobody sees the need…
Besides, if you want to talk to me, just push that “comment” button–I love comments!!