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g Missing and Exploited Children Site

BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Keeping Personal Information Private


My husband and I were at a local steak house when we overheard a conversation between a 40 year old waitress and her 2 male customers. I was amazed at the amount of personal and family information which was so quickly and easily provided by this single mother of 5 girls and 1 boy. I wonder how much information each of us provides without realizing the danger it might be placing us or our families in danger.

When we are in a public place like a restaurant we must also consider the overflow that a conversation provides to those in the general vicinity of the actual conversation. This is a synopsize of what I heard listed in the paragraph below.

A single divorced mom, who lives in a nearby very rural town (she gives the name of the town). Our house is located across from the (town's) one High School. I have 5 girls and 1 boy. The boy is 20 and left Wednesday for States the name of the University. He is studying to be a diesel mechanic. He was in the army but got hurt 3 weeks into basic training. He was told to carry a 250 lb man and fell and his trainer did not know he was hurt. He fractured a couple of discs and tore multiple ligaments and he received dishonorable discharge and his GI bill. The Army will pay him 1100 per month as long as he is a fulltime student...and this goes on and on…for the entire course of our meal which was over an hour.

The town she described is well-known locally and about 20 miles up the road. There is only one high school. So finding her house would be easy for these two men or anyone who overheard her conversation and decided to go looking for her. She tells them her work schedule is the same every week. She works every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On wednesday she does a double and stays to close the restaurant.

She now has placed herself and her five young daughters in jeopardy by saying her work schedule and anonouncing how it does not change. This tells the world these girls ages 12-16 are home alone multpiple times a week. There was so much more but by now you probably get my point. Everyone needs to consider what personal information is being shared and this goes for both online and off line.

What are your face book settings for privacy? Some people are very private with their personal information but there family photos are set to be shown to everyone. Also consider what information your friends are sharing. If your friend says on her profile she is a middle school student in 7th grade at Barnwell Middle School in Barnwell Idaho and her BFF is Jill (it is easy for anyone to click on your friend list and see the profile picture of Jill. Now they know 2 girls that attend 7th grade at the Barnwell Idaho Middle School.

Many of us have personal family and friends online, and then we have our online friends who are the friends we met online but will likely never meet in person. Yet, they see everything we post to our status and when we tell them we are out of town or on vacation or having an outdoor sleep over you are telling the whole world when you will and will not be home.

The best unwritten rule is to assume everyone can see what you or your children are writing online and once the information is out in cyberspace there is no way to get it back. Keep private information off the web and out of your conversations!
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Content copyright © 2013 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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