Do you have a cyberstalker?

I have an absurd fascination towards having multiple things on the Internet. I’m not the kind of person who would create multiple profiles on Facebook/ Myspace/ Friendster/ Youtube and expect people to add me into all of my accounts. It’s just that, these multiple accounts are for my own benefit. It helps me to package things (inclusive of people – friends or family) according to their boxes. It helps me to understand and determine who or which to prioritize first.

For example, I have multiple email addresses that I keep; in total, 5 of them.

An address for social networking sites.

An address for private or websites that needs membership and stuff.

An address for official stuff.

An address for university stuff.

An address for random stuff.

I cherish my privacy a lot. I know it doesn’t seem like that since I own a fucking blog (well, blogs) and pretty much put tons of my shit on there, but to be brutally honest, I go to all lengths to keep my personal information private. As private as fucking possible – like the names of my friends and places I go to or who is able to see me on certain sites.

Say, if someone adds me as a chat friend on Skype for example, they couldn’t use the same Skype email to search me on Facebook because I used another email to do just that. Or I use fake names on profiles. I get really paranoid at times of some people who could just Google me using my full/real name.

And I don’t fancy this whole ‘check-in‘ bits that Facebook, Twitter or phone apps have, and I don’t quite understand why people are so keen on letting other people know where they are. I’m pretty okay if you tell people where you’ve been, but not where you are currently at. That’s just an invitation to stalkers; despite them being in your friend list of not. Acquaintances can be stalker. Just a heads up.

You have no idea how fucking easy it is to find everything about a person just by searching for them on Google. I found out everything about some guy I met online; from his full name, where he studied before, where he lived and even right down to what position he played in baseball and what’s his jersey number, all because he used the same email for his Skype, Facebook and school.

There’s a term for someone who stalks other people using Google. It’s called a Google stalker (no brainer) or Internet stalker. There’s even a website about Google stalking. It’s insane how people go to lengths to find someone via search sites.

I won’t say that I am privacy expert, but these are just small things that you have to keep an eye on, you know?

Here is a list on how to keep safe while on the Internet from my own experience.

1. Use multiple email addresses for different purposes. (Addresses for official stuff, personal social networking sites, non-personal social networking sites etc).

2. Change your password regularly to avoid hackers or spams.

3. Use fake names for non-personal stuff like blogs or emails. (Facebook is a personal thing because you have your friends and families who you know personally as oppose to other social networking sites like dating sites where you don’t want people to know a lot about your personal information.)

4. Avoid checking-in to places using your Facebook/ Twitter/ phone apps when you’re still at the place. Only check-in when you’re out of that place.

5. Change Facebook settings to enable you to accept/decline check-ins by friends. With this setting, other people won’t be able to see your name on your or your friend’s profile when he/she tags you in their check-ins up until you accept that tag.

6. Avoid using full names or real names (of yourself and family/friends) on blogs or other non-private sites (for example; Skype, dating sites etc…)

7. Don’t tell people where you live exactly. Say, if you live in Bukit Padang, just tell them that you live in KK instead or that you live ___ minutes away from KK.

8. Teach your younger siblings or sons/daughters these things too! Online safety is important!

9. Privatize information against new friends or acquaintances and only ‘lift’ it when you two are close enough to share things with.

Stay safe!

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