If you’ve been anywhere on the internet lately, you probably haven’t been able to avoid the news of Kim Kardashian’s run in with some armed burglars. While my life is absolutely nothing like hers in many(!) aspects, it sends a shiver down my spine to imagine what that would feel like – the violation, the trauma and the fear that your children could lose their mother.
While she’s received a lot of hate and victim blaming comments online, I do feel for her – sure her case has been widely publicised and talked about, because she’s super duper famous – but it’s still something that can happen to anyone. Even if you don’t have millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery on your person.
I have read that the Kardashian/West/Jenner family have really locked down on their social media since the scary event and while I wish this was the ideal world in which it did not play a role in the exploitation of people, I think this is a smart idea for them in the circumstances.
Please be mindful that I am in no way victim blaming anyone. Just offering some advice that I try to live by.
When I say ‘try’ I mean I am not perfect in this oversharing culture we live in, but I do try to have a somewhat cautious approach and I’m hoping to improve.
While the Kardashians are not to blame for the awful decisions made by others to traumatise or stalk them (yes I know a lot of people are disagreeing with me right now but I stand by what I’m saying), I do think this raises a good discussion about how we can keep ourselves as safe as possible. We can’t control everything that might happen to us, but we can put some safety measures in place – even without access to giant burly bouncers and bodyguards!
Here are the ways we can try to keep ourselves/locations/valuables safe(r) when on social media/blogs…
Reveal your location after the fact (or not at all)
It’s probably unrealistic to expect people to never reveal where they’re going or where they’ve been. Social media empires have been built on being able to promote exactly this.
Social media is amazing for its sense of immediacy. We can live blog, live stream, we have apps like snapchat. But it can come with its risks.
People know exactly where we are, what valuables we’re wearing and can deduce many other things about us in that place and time. While I wish there weren’t people out there who would exploit this, there are.
Sometimes for privacy reasons, I will do things like ‘check in’ to a location as I’m leaving it. Or I will save snapchat posts straight to ‘memories’ and add them to my story later.
I will keep certain locations to myself, but promote others. I recently went on an awesome holiday, which I shared a lot of, but I did not reveal the exact place where I was staying with family. Until recently, nobody even knew the exact name of my hometown on this blog!
Sometimes it can help to be a little enigmatic. Don’t always be consistent. Makes it a little harder for people to determine if you’re alone, or who you’re with/not with etc. Check a lot of settings on your social media accounts, because some reveal your location automatically. Try to disable as many of those as you can! You should be in control, not the app!
Be selective about who you share certain details with
I keep both personal and public social media profiles. While nothing is completely foolproof, my personal/private profiles are much more locked down than my public profiles and information. I try to keep my private contacts as people I know personally and feel like I can trust (I could probably even stand to do a bit more culling). I don’t give access to those I do not know well and what I share more ‘privately’ is quite different to what I share publicly.
I think it’s really important to have your private/public online presence sorted. While the urge to overshare to a wider audience can be bloody tempting, I like having people I can message/snap privately without that audience. I just ask myself before posting: is this for a couple of select friends/family members only or is this for a wider audience? What am I willing to reveal about my life right now? I’m allowed to decide what’s best for myself and my family. Some things are just not for social media.
Do not openly say ‘I’m home alone’ or my home is empty.
I try not to ever openly say whether I’m home alone (especially at night time) or that my home is empty. I’m happy to publicly show off my rather annoyingly protective dogs too haha.
I once gasped when I saw an acquaintance publicly post that she was enjoying a bubble bath right that minute, with a check in location at her house. I knew she lived alone and it freaked me out. Please don’t do that! Please!
It’s all about timing and inclusion/exclusion of critical details.
Do not allow people to virtually case your joint
I can be quite selective in which things I share images of around my house. I don’t show off valuables (not that there are many – if any – mind you haha). I do not think that I have ever given a virtual tour of sorts of my place – i.e. while my house is a pretty standard design, I don’t think I’ve ever revealed the layout in its entirety.
I might just show the pretty generic parts of my place that happen to be in the background of whatever I’m snapping that day. If it reveals too much, I send privately to people who I know and trust in real life, who have probably visited anyway!
I know I may sound a little over cautious to some (it’s not like I’m super rich or famous or a particularly desirable target – something I do not mind AT ALL), but in reality I am really not. I probably could stand to tighten up a lot more. In some ways I envy those who can share so much without fear/paranoia (sometimes it’s even inspiring), but in other ways I can feel concerned.
None of the tips I have written here can guarantee anything. Some awful people have a will and they find a way and there’s nothing much we can do about it (which is why victim blaming is absolute nonsense). This advice just makes me feel a little more empowered and maybe these things make a small difference in deterring some morally bankrupt individuals.
I definitely could learn a lot more about keeping myself and my family safe online, but I am trying to be more mindful of what I share – especially in light of this recent news story (yes I referred to it as a ‘news’ story, Hatey McHaters!).
How do you manage your online identity/presence? Do you have personal safety online measures put in place? (please make sure your comments do not betray any personal details that could put you at risk)