Caveat Blogger

Monday, January 2, 2006

1 Comment

Written by Rachna Mutreja

Blogs are basically journals that individuals keep online. Someone who keeps a blog is called a “blogger.” Blogs are very appealing because they require virtually no technical knowledge to add, edit, remove any entries. However, there is a privacy issue with blogs. Although blogs are anonymous, people tend to reveal personal details including photos and their contact information. Online blogs including MySpace, Xanga and Live Journal are intimate, diaries updated with details from daily lives. Additionally, access to blogs are not restricted and hence, everyone with access to the internet can view them.

There are other directories such as Facebook but they are more restricted and not as public. However, profiles on Facebook include private information such as personal interests, workplaces, contact information, photos, and so forth. Although access is restricted, friends can be invited to view others profiles.

Blogs provide a false sense of security. However, because of its simplicity, individuals in today’s generation use the Internet for everything and find it extremely easy to work with online blogs. The Internet is seen as a fun place. However, there are always risks of people finding information that you never wanted to reveal. There have already been stories in the news about strangers finding students at universities through information posted on their blogs. Students, especially, use blogs to vent and receive advice about personal problems and secret issues such as abuse, suicide attempts, rape, family problems, et cetera. Somehow students feel safe thinking that only a few friends are reading their entries or that the information they are revealing are being read by strangers, but they do not realize who is reading the information. Individuals not only reveal contact information, but they make themselves targets to certain people by revealing specific experiences they have been through or are facing.

Despite all the risks and warnings, writing blogs and chatting online have become the social norm. It seems more natural for students to email their friends or update their blogs before making a phone call to spread news.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, at least eight million individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 read or have blogs. Facebook was created in 2003 by students at Harvard university and now they have over 8.5 million users. It first started off as a university connection website but now also lists high schools around the United States. The website is free to register and use. Although users have control over what information they want to reveal and who can view their information, they tend to reveal a lot of private information. Even restricting their profile to students at their university could mean allowing up to 40,000 other students to view it.

In the end, it is up to people to choose what to reveal, but they should be aware of who is able to view their information and be cautioned when putting up private information. Blogs can be fun and are a good way of keeping in touch with friends, but there are risks associated with it as well, which students should evaluate.

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  1. Posted by: asha mutreja on Jan 3, 2006 @ 12:26am

    good clear information.better to be cautious than to repent later.

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