Think Before You Share: Understanding Social Media Oversharing Risks

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People may now communicate their thoughts, opinions, and private information with others more easily than ever, thanks to social media and other online platforms.

There are risks involved, but it also gives us the ability to contact friends and family wherever in the world. Oversharing on the internet can have detrimental effects, including identity theft, harassment, and harm to your reputation and personal relationships.

This article will discuss the risks of social media oversharing and provide guidance on how to keep secure.

What is Social MediaOversharing?

Users who disclose too much personal information online are said to be oversharing. This can come in various ways, such as publishing private information.

Sharing about personal lives on social media or disclosing sensitive data like their address, phone number, or financial information.

Many people may need to be made aware of the extent of their social media sharing of personal information, or they may not be aware of the dangers involved.

Social Media Oversharing Dangers

  1. Reputational Damage Because of Social Media Oversharing

 

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Your reputation on personal and professional fronts may improve if you share less information online. Taking something down after it’s placed on social media could be difficult or impossible.

Your internet presence may be viewed by prospective employers or coworkers, who may conclude from the information they find.

In fact, according to a CareerBuilder poll, 57% of employers have found stuff on social media that made them decide not to hire an applicant. 70% of businesses use social media to screen job candidates.

Your reputation might be harmed, and inappropriate images or comments, divisive viewpoints, and unethical conduct may impact your future opportunities.

2. Social Media Oversharing Persona Security

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When you disclose too much personal information online, you put yourself at risk for harassment, stalking, and physical harm. Checking in at each stop or posting images from your present location can provide outsiders access to your whereabouts.

Cybercriminals can use this information to target you by physically following you, defrauding you over the phone, or phishing emails. Sharing personal contact information exposes you to unwelcome attention from acquaintances or strangers, such as unsolicited phone calls, emails, or texts.

3.  Stolen Identities Due to Social Media Oversharing

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You could become a victim of identity theft if you provide personal information online, including your full name, date of birth, and address.

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Cybercriminals can use this information to open bank accounts, credit cards, and loans in your name, resulting in financial loss and harm to your credit score. Identity theft cost victims $16.9 billion in only 2019 alone, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research survey.

Avoid disclosing personal information online, and be wary of shady emails, phone calls, or text messages that request it.

4. Social Media Oversharing to Cyberbullying 

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Cyberbullies may target you if you post personal information or thoughts online. Cyberbullies may exploit the details you provide to bully, threaten, or harass you online and offline.

Your mental health and wellness may suffer, and you can experience suicidal thoughts or symptoms like depression or anxiety.

The Cyberbullying Research Center conducted research that found 34% of students who had been cyberbullied reported having suicidal thoughts.

Be cautious when sharing information online, and report any bullying to the relevant authorities to protect yourself from cyberbullying.

Think Before You Share on Social Media

Think carefully about the possible repercussions before sharing anything online. Consider whether you are comfortable with the public knowledge of the information you share.

If something could be used against you or endanger your safety, think twice before doing it. Remember that limiting who sees and uses your online content is challenging once you publish it.

  • Be Discreet with Your Sensitive Details Shared on Social Media

Sharing private information can open you to identity theft and other online fraud, such as full name, date of birth, and address.

Avoid disclosing this information to the public, and consider using a nickname or pseudonym instead of your real name. Set the privacy settings on your social media accounts to private and only accept friend requests from people you know.

  • Pay Attention to Your Online Visibility
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Your internet presence may significantly impact your reputation and personal safety. Check your social media pages and other internet accounts frequently to ensure nothing that can jeopardise your reputation or safety is present.

Any posts or remarks that can be construed as abusive or inappropriate should be deleted. It’s crucial to watch what others are saying about you online and take appropriate action if you notice anything harmful.

  • Create Secure Social Media Passwords

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Use strong, one-of-a-kind passwords to secure your online accounts. Refrain from using the same password across numerous accounts, and change it frequently. A strong password must have a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, digits, and symbols and be at least 12 characters long.

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  • Recognise Phishing Social Media Frauds 

Cybercriminals frequently use phishing scams to deceive victims into disclosing their personal information. Emails, texts, and social media messages all have the potential to be used in these frauds. Any unsolicited messages you get should be avoided, especially if they request personal information from you or direct you to a URL. Watch out for indications of phishing scams, such as an ambiguous sender or an overly appealing letter.

Implications of Social Media Oversharing 

1. Effects on Mental Health

Sharing too much can be harmful to your emotional well-being. According to research, those who frequently disclose personal information on social media are more likely to struggle with anxiety, despair, and loneliness.

This can result from the pressure to project a perfect image online, FOMO, or the ongoing need for approval from other people.

2. Influence on Children and Teenagers

Social Media Oversharing can have serious adverse effects on children and teenagers. They could not completely comprehend the repercussions of disclosing private information online, or they might be more willing to act riskily to be accepted by their peers.

These concerns must be recognised by parents and educators, who must also teach children how to use social media responsibly and safely.

3. Affects Personal Relationships

Oversharing can harm personal connections as well. Without their permission, disclosing too much personal information about a partner or loved one might be considered a betrayal of trust and hurt the relationship.

Similar to how exposing personal information about yourself, such as intimate details or private images, can damage relationships and cause humiliation or regret.

4. Legal Repercussions

Social Media oversharing may have legal repercussions as well. Legal action and criminal charges may result from posting defamatory remarks, disseminating protected works without authorisation, or disseminating unlawful materials like hate speech or terrorist propaganda. Using social media properly and being informed of online conduct rules and legislation is crucial.

Impact on Business and Organisations

Social Media oversharing can negatively affect businesses and organisations. Employees that post private or secret information online risk the security of the business and jeopardise its brand.

Similarly, businesses that use social media for marketing or advertising must be careful not to overshare or engage in aggressive behavior that can turn off customers or hurt the brand.

Self-Help Guide for Social Media Oversharing Risks

Learn about the risks and threats the newest social media oversharing practices bring. Consider attending workshops or seminars to learn more about safeguarding your personal information. Read up on the best practices for internet privacy and security:

  1. Utilise privacy settings:  Social media sites frequently offer users various privacy options that can help you manage who sees your posts and personal information. You must be familiar with these settings and make the most of them.
  2.  Avoid using public Wi-Fi:  because it can put your security at risk because these networks are frequently unencrypted and simple for hackers to access. Avoid logging into confidential accounts like banking or email when using public Wi-Fi networks.
  3. Check your accounts frequently: for any questionable behavior, such as unauthorised logins or modifications to your personal information. If you see anything unusual, take prompt action to safeguard your accounts and personal data.
  4. Think about using a VPN: by encrypting your internet connection and hiding your IP address, a virtual private network (VPN) is a tool that can help safeguard your online privacy and security. Consider using a VPN when using public Wi-Fi or connecting to sensitive accounts.
  5. Keep children safe because excessive sharing can endanger them. Parents should take cautious when posting information about their children online, including their full names, dates of birth, and locations. Parents should also set privacy controls on their children’s social media accounts and educate them about safe online conduct.
  6. Limit access to the private information you share online, such as financial or medical information, and exercise caution.
  7. Data breaches should be taken seriously since they are growing more frequent and can provide hackers and cybercriminals access to your personal information. Be sure to stay informed about data breaches and take precautions to stay safe, such as changing your passwords and keeping an eye on your credit report.
  8. Photos and videos should be shared online with caution. If they feature other people, be careful what you publish online. Before uploading anything that can be construed as inappropriate or offensive, consider the potential repercussions and always get permission before using someone else’s photo or video.
  9. Online quizzes and surveys should be used cautiously if they ask for personal information. Although some of these might seem innocent, they can be used to gather information about you and possibly steal your identity.
  10. Our online behaviors leave behind a digital trace that is frequently irreversible and challenging to remove. Anyone, at any time, anywhere, can access anything we post or share online. It’s crucial to consider how our internet behavior may affect us in the future and what type of image we are giving the world.
  11. Cybercriminals frequently employ social engineering techniques to persuade victims to divulge private information or click on harmful links. They might build a convincing identity and win our trust by using details from social media sites. It’s crucial to exercise caution when interacting online and to confirm the legitimacy of any requests or messages we receive.
  12. Online reputation management is feasible through the proactive creation of positive content and participation in online groups relevant to our hobbies or line of work. With our reputation as reliable and trustworthy sources of information growing, this can help to drive down any unfavorable content. Responding to any unfortunate remarks or evaluations respectfully and professionally is also crucial.
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It’s important to know the risks associated with excessive internet sharing and to take steps to protect your privacy and personal data. By taking the effort and retaining information, you may defend yourself from the possible ramifications of excessive online sharing.

Takeaway

A few unfavorable effects of excessive internet sharing include identity theft, cyberbullying, damage to your reputation, and damage to your interpersonal relationships. When deciding with whom and what you share online, use caution. 

Take security safeguards to safeguard your privacy and online reputation.  To reduce the risks connected with social media oversharing, use social media and other online resources responsibly by according to the above-mentioned recommendations.

It is crucial to highlight that current news reports have increased awareness of the rampant risks of social media oversharing.

This emphasizes the importance of exercising caution while disclosing personal information on social media and other online platforms because you may need to find out who might have access to it.

Social Media oversharing has legal repercussions in addition to the hazards mentioned above. You might run the danger of facing legal problems if you publish defamatory content or remarks.

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Determining that sharing information or content online does not violate the law requires knowledge of online behavior regulations.

However, a few simple steps can be taken to prevent excessive internet sharing. By being cautious about what you publish online, maintaining the privacy of your personal information, and being aware of your online presence

You may safeguard yourself from the risks associated with oversharing online and use social media and other platforms without running the risk of harm.

 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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