When you’re pregnant, people can be a bit intrusive. Strangers touch your belly. People offer unsolicited advice. No one seems uncomfortable discussing the size of your baby bump (and you).
So it’s no wonder then that Kate Middleton and Prince William are a little bit flustered over all the attention they’ve been getting from the public and media. It might be expected – they are, after all, having a baby who might one day sit on the throne – but no one wants their privacy completely disregarded.
Tabloid rumors and gossip prompted the royal family to announce Kate’s pregnancy much earlier than they wished, and photos snapped during their private family moments constantly show up on the Internet and in the news. We can shrug it off and ignore their distress with the dismissal that Kate and William are public figures and celebrities, and therefore their life cannot be private, but is it fair? Is it even that simple?
And what about us, the common people?
While Kate and William will forever be hounded by the press and the Internet, their plea for a bit of privacy is something that we can all relate to. In this digital age and with the prominent use of social media, privacy is an important factor to consider, especially in regards to your family.
So while your children might wear crowns made of construction paper and glitter, you still have the right to protect their privacy, and yours, from the nosy world. Just because your Facebook profile is set to private doesn’t mean that your select group of “friends” can’t share pictures of you with their friends.
Here are some tips on how to maintain your privacy:
Search Yourself On The Internet
You might not think you need to worry about your privacy on the Internet, but a quick search of your name will inform you not just of how easy or hard someone can find you, but also how.
My name is rather common, and I didn’t find anything about myself during my search at first. However, there was a public profile of myself attached to a music streaming website that I use. The website iPhonegram also had a page for all of my Instagram photos. That bothered me. I never signed up for something called “iPhonegram.”
Those were the only links I found associated with me, which was a bit of a relief. Plus, I now have an idea of how to keep my life more private.
Limit Your Smart Phone
Turn off anything on your phone that gives away your location:
- Adjust GPS features on your phone. Digital photos taken with smart phones are encrypted with GPS and your location can be found. You can switch that off fairly easily in the settings of your phone.
- Be sure to check the apps on your phone as well. The default on apps is often set to be public, so always make sure that you have customized your settings to protect your privacy.
- And turn off that Bluetooth. It allows people direct access to your phone.
Think Before You Share
Be cautious on social media:
- A picture of your face on your social media profile heightens your chance of being noticed and found on the Internet. Consider using a picture of something else.
- Participate first and post later. Don’t “check in” on Facebook or tweet what your doing. Keeping your Internet presence up-to-date with your life is dangerous because it not just informs people of where you are (and where they can find you) but where you are not. When on vacation, post pictures once you’re home.
If you have Internet access at work, do not mix your professional life with your personal one. Even if your boss allows you to use Facebook at work, you should exercise caution. Your time on the Internet is monitored at work.
Be Careful When Searching
Use a different search engine from your personal email account. If you have Gmail, use Bing or Yahoo! to search. Search engines connect with email accounts. The moment you sign into Gmail. Google begins monitoring your actions online. Any search you conduct through Google will be linked to your account, which means any personal information that you might inadvertently share can be traced to your account.
And always, always remember that participating online is never truly private. It seems like sometimes we forget just how many people we are connected to online. You might not be married to royalty, but if you’re present online, you’ve made the choice to be a public figure.