Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Foursquare : Fun or Dangerous?

It's no secret that the Internet is a big BIG place , which is and can be just as scary as the real world. I know we all want to pretend that it's as safe as being wrapped in cotton wool, but the truth is it's not.

I admit to having a large presence online , I am a member of many websites such as facebook , twitter and forums. I've always been a 'online' person since a young-ish age but I never went into a chat room or abused the Internet in a way which alot of other youngsters do these days. But then technology over the last 10 years has become more 'in your face' and it is simply everywhere you turn. Most mobiles are now smartphones which allow you to access the Internet just about anywhere , and even popular kids gaming devices such as the nintendo DS let you access the web with its built in wi-fi capacity.

The Internet is a place you cannot trust, I learnt this for myself the moment I first logged on to the world wide web. At school we used to outsmart out teachers with what we could do when it came to the Internet , we knew all the hacks to get onto our social networks and no matter how safe the safe search was we could still access pictures we shouldn't of seen at our age. The Internet should carry one huge safety precaution because of the dangers it contains and can create.

Only just a few months ago I was slagged off like crazy by a mums internet forum after they got wind of my social services post. Not because of the situation but because they saw my blog and saw that I write about my child , can you believe it? A mummy blogger writing about her child? Shock! Horror!
Yes I call my son Oli in my posts but how do you know that's even his real name? How do you know the pictures I post are even of my child? More Then Just A Mother has recently posted about .

I know the risks I take with blogging , by using 'real' names and 'real' photos. But how about the risks with something like foursquare?

I got caught in the excitement of foursquare , I though cooool.. I can let everyone know where I am. That was until I really thought about it. Why would I want to let people know where I am?? Ok I suppose foursquare has its advantages - I can get 20% off at weatherspoon or even a free pizza at domino's if I become mayor but apart from that what else does it have to offer?

Oh yeah.. it lets potential thief's know that you're not at home , foursquare-ing from my exotic holiday in the Caribbean is not exactly a smart move when potential thief's are scowling foursquare or wherever I publish my foursquare feed too for empty houses to ransack.

And how about the lack of age restrictions? Yes I know anyone can lie about there age , but at least the warning would be there when they go to sign up. The current age related message which pops up when you sign up is
'Foursquare requires all users to provide their real date of birth to provide only age-appropriate access to content. This information will not be shared with other foursquare users.'
The terms state that the service is available to 13 years + . So your 13 year old who's been given a mobile for safety reasons could be using the foursquare app to let those 'naughty' people know exactly where he or she is at anytime they update it.

It's not just foursquare which gives us the option of people knowing our whereabouts Twitter & Facebook have also got in on this craze by installing places on to your page. I quickly opted out of this on both twitter and facebook. After all why would it interest my friends for me to say I'm at the dentist? If they wanted to know I'm at the dentist all they have to do is check where I would of most likely tweeted 'Am off to the dentist , am crapping myself' .

I've not deleted my foursquare account yet, But it's not been updated since I came to my senses and asked myself why I was doing it.

What do you think? Is foursquare fun or is it dangerous?