Wearing my best plaid out to the bars was the most efficient strategy I had for dating, but even the best night had poor statistical success with the ladies. If my lack of success wasn’t enough, I would often end the night with a hefty tab and ever diminishing self-esteem. Simply put, going out looking for a date is expensive, time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes you just can’t pull it together. Us men can look our best, but if out “bar-game” is off, we just wasted $50 and a couple of hours that may have been spent doing something more productive.
Then Tinder arrived.
Before Tinder, dating sites were more complex and in-depth, truly focusing on the dating and compatibility aspect. They were a way to find “the one” outside of traditional methods. When Tinder arrived, it streamlined the process by simplifying it. Compatibility was based solely upon looks, making my best plaid the winner of every night as it didn’t have to compete with my foot in my mouth.
Tinder made registering for an account easier as well. Instead of filling out 6 hours of resume, just login with your Facebook account. I went from spending countless hours searching for fun lady friends to simply swiping left and right on my couch. How awesome is that? Even better, with Tinder, I found terrific success.
Tinder made it easy to meet others with a cavalier ease, and I never stopped to think about my online persona as being in jeopardy or the trail of bad behavior bread crumbs I was leaving behind. That is until Ashley Madison was hacked.
25 Gigabytes of user data was stolen by “The Impact Team” and released to the public for perusal on August 18 and 20th, 2015, destroying many marriages and displaying long-kept secrets. While this didn’t affect me, it certainly made me pay more attention to online security. How much of my information was out there, and who could or was accessing it?
Cyber Security for Individuals
According to the FCC, debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams were their top complaints received in 2015. The Boston University reports that a staggering 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity fraud during the same year as well. We all know that identity fraud is common, even expected at some point, but we don’t take the necessary steps to protect our privacy online. There are simple methods that will help us prevent theft from occurring.
Some of the ways we leave ourselves vulnerable to cybercrime include:
Crafting unique, unlikely passwords and changing them frequently is the best way to prevent theft of your login information. Charles Schwab, an investment firm, suggests a new password every six months to ensure maximum protection for their clients. If an online account has security options, opt for the highest levels of security. We can never be too safe!
Anti-virus software will help to prevent attacks while using your computer on networks that may not be as secure as your home setup. If you travel, or are away from home regularly, implement caution when using foreign networks as they are open for utilization by everyone else as well.
Accepting friend requests from strangers may seem harmless, but these requests often are scams to get our personal information. Whether or not you routinely make friends with strangers online, you should be very careful about the content of what you post online.
Do not post addresses, account numbers, phone numbers, or other important information. This may seem like common sense, but it’s easy to forget and post something that could be used in identity fraud.
Social Media and Relationships
Social media doesn’t just affect online security, it can be an issue in real-world relationships as well. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Boston University conducted a study comparing divorce rates by state with per capita Facebook accounts. This was supplemented by a separate survey that questioned respondents about social media and marriage quality. What they found was a clear link between social media and marital trouble. Models showed that a 20% increase in Facebook activity was associated with a 2.1-4.32% increase in divorce rates. They also noted that people who did not use social media were predicted to be 11% happier in a marriage.
So what do these studies mean for our social media habits? They certainly don’t mean that we have to stop using Facebook in order to have happy marriages. They simply indicate that we need to be careful about how our use of social sites and monitor how they affect our relationships.
Using Social Media Responsibly in Relationships
A relationship’s health largely has to do with considering your partner’s feelings, and this extends to social media. Think before you post: would anything potentially upset my significant other? Would they potentially feel jealous or hurt? Am I treating my significant other the way I would like to be treated?
It is easier than ever to indulge in unsavory relationships thanks to social media and dating sites. Many of them even offer discreet communication methods that hide anything that your partner may consider inappropriate. Remember that no matter how secure and private your online actions seem, it is still less secure than abstaining from unhealthy online communication altogether.
Behaving responsibly on social media isn’t difficult, but it does take some extra consideration and thought. You should expect the same consideration from your partner as well—if something is making you uncomfortable, bring it up respectfully and communicate the reasons why you feel it’s inappropriate.
If these conversations start happening on a regular basis, however, it may be a sign that something deeper than Facebook is affecting your relationship—it may be time to have a serious talk.
Now it’s time to hear what you think – are you happy with your own (or your significant other’s) online activity? Are there any changes or improvements you hope to get started in your own digital life?
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