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The Internet is a wonderful place where you can connect with people and find out anything you want with a few taps. But where there is good, there are also people who always want to mess it up for every and use it to harass/annoy/bully people. We, as Internet folk need to make sure we are aware to this and take the necessary precautions in order to protect ourselves!
- Take special care if under 18 - I'm going to be honest with you, there are some weirdos on the web looking to find info on under 18s, especially female ones. If you are a teen blogger, you can't be naive think you're safe from predators just because you can't see them. Please consider not sharing your real location (village/town/city), school or even surname. These simple bits of information make it easier for dodgy people to get a good idea of who your are and where you are most likely to be living.
- Turn off location settings - You may not have realised that your Instagram, tweets, facebook have geotags on them. It's easy to cancel these settings so people don't know your exact location. Go into your account settings and make sure locations are switched off.
- Blur out/crop personal info - If you are taking pictures outside, remember to blur out street names, car registration plates, house numbers, etc. It's soooooo easy for people to find out where you live from a single photo!It might seem like a lot of effort, but those names and numbers are easily searchable online.
- Holidays - A blogger and a journalist have been burgled while on holiday abroad! Yep, that's right! How? Well, they tweeted/blogged about being abroad and their house was found through a 'House Tour' blog post. That is really scary. If you are going to blog about a holiday, refrain from saying exactly where and when you are going!
- Harassment - If you are getting anonymous hate comments, don't ignore it! You can remove the anon comment feature from your blog, but if it persists, screenshot the comments (for evidence) and contact the police. They have tracking tools and will sort it out for you.
- Your friends - Make sure to ask your friends if they want to be named and photographed on your blog - don't just assume it's okay to include them. Sometimes it's best to use your friend's initials or blur out their faces in images if that's what they request.
- Blogs can be found/read by anyone - Including future employers who will search your name online before the job interview. Try not to use vulgar language or post provocative things that could jeopardise great opportunities.
- Your posts are permanent - Everything you write/tweet/blog/send online will be on there and accessible to the public forever - even if you delete it. Don't post anything you think you might regret!
- Blogs are not above the law - You may not know it, but there are new cyber laws in most countries these days. If you write something that is false/slanderous/insulting about a person/organisation, they could take legal action against you. This also includes things like plagiarism, harassment and copyright.
- Help is always available - If you are concerned about any of the things I have mentioned, there are plenty of people you can turn to (including family, police, and sites such as Childnet and Get Safe Online)
Hope this was too depressing to read! Hope you all stay safe and enjoy blogging! My next post in the series will be about beating writer's block! Stay tuned! :)