• Ruth Amos RN JD

Warning: Facebook Games Can Be Dangerous to your (Digital) Health!

It was a dark and stormy Tuesday evening and I was feeling particularly bored. Logged onto Facebook with a glass of wine in hand, I saw one of those cute quizzes that a friend of mine posted. You’ve seen them- they start out by saying, “Hey, let’s get to know each other better! Make sure to copy and paste your answers and post on your wall- no sharing, please!”

The questions appear innocent enough- “what were the last five places you’ve lived,” “what’s your favorite food, favorite movie, first car you owned,” etc. I figured- why not play? I’ve got nothing better to do right now…

As I began typing answers to some of the survey questions that I’m supposed to share with my Facebook friends, a dark feeling of digital foreboding came over me. These questions look vaguely familiar- aren’t most of them the same ones used to provide security questions online when I forgot my password to, say, my bank account and healthcare provider network?? Even if I post on my wall, all friends of friends and their friends, et al are now privy to my very personal information, and that can’t be good. As creatures of habit, we are inclined to repeat the same answers to these questions on Facebook as we are on the security password screening sessions.

Suddenly, I’m alert- glass of wine is down, and I’m erasing any and all digital footprints of my entries before posting. As a digital privacy expert, I should know better than to even begin this foolishness, right? The answer is, yes, of course, but I’m not alone. We are all vulnerable on certain dark and stormy Tuesday evenings, and drinking wine while bored on Facebook does not help.

Note to self: no more Facebook meanderings with wine on Tuesdays (or any other quiet evenings), and beware- what appears to be an innocent friendly survey may actually be an opportunity for someone to gain access to your most private information.

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