Moms Unknowingly put their children at Risk

I know–you think I am crazy for my headline.  Mom’s wouldn’t do that, but it suddenly came to me today that we are putting so much information in one site that  Moms (and frankly, all of us) are quietly, and accidentally, putting their children at risk of “Identity theft.”  We have a trusting attitude about Facebook.  We don’t think about the ingenuity of those that seek to commit evil in the dark.  We share. We love. We risk all.

You may know that I am trying to leave Facebook (and if you read my posts, you know I proposed a way to ‘roll your own’ using existing social networking sites.)  The reason I am concerned about Facebook, and wanting to leave, is that I am tired of the constant push and pull.  They push the limits on protecting privacy, we push back, they pull back… They claim they own our photos, we push, they pull back… I am not surprised, though. They don’t view their users as their customers (we aren’t–the advertisers are) but they simply view their users as the generators of content that will drive advertising sales.

The problem is that I am not sure how many really understand the several layers of privacy that could be at risk.

And here is where Moms put their kids at risk.  You know that security question “What is your mother’s maiden name?” Well… with so many women including there maiden name on facebook (“hey–my old friends can find me easier!”) it may actually put their childrens’ identity at risk.1  I suppose this wouldn’t be a problem, so long as we make sure we don’t connect to our parents/siblings, and so forth.  But we share the information (Maiden name) and the say “oh, here are my kids’ names, too.”

Quickly, let me say I am in no way really trying to blame moms for ANYTHING here.  It’s not the fault of Moms or the kids.   I suspect all of us are in a sense “guilty” here–we don’t think about how easily people can connect the dots on this information.

Part of the problem here is that we don’t fully understand how Facebook shares information.  Apparently, even if you only share your information with your friends, if the friends have their settings open to “everyone” then your information is exposed.

I wish we could trust people. I wish we could trust Facebook.  But in this world we must be cautious.

  1.  Of course, there are many other security questions that are often used.  Pet’s name.  Phone number. Favorite color.  How many of those have you seen as information on Facebook–and when you put the information up there, did you think about the security questions you may have answered in the past? I know I didn’t.