Can Social Network, Blogs Hurt You?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    Think Social Networks, Blogs Can’t Hurt You?

    by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
    February 2, 2008

    We’ve been beating the patient privacy drum here for years, and will continue to do so because we don’t think the message is being fully understood.

    When you share and disclose aspects of your personal health with the world, it is something very different than when you share and disclose your favorite books or hobbies or musical groups. They are not the same thing. Books, music and your favorite movie star can’t be used against you (well, at least not until Big Brother takes hold). But your personal health information can.

    Think we’re overstating things?



    Well, the New Jersey Law Journal published a story yesterday that might make you think again:
    Litigation over an insurer’s refusal to pay health benefits for anorexia or bulimia may turn on what is revealed from the alleged sufferers’ e-mails and postings on the social networking sites.

    The plaintiffs are suing in federal court in Newark, N.J., on behalf of their minor children, who have been denied benefits by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
    Horizon claims that the children’s online writings, as well as journal and diary entries, could shed light on the causes of the disorders, which determines the insurer’s responsibility for payment. New Jersey law requires coverage of mental illness only if it is biologically based.

    Horizon claims the eating problems are not biologically based and that the writings could point to emotional causes. It contends that access to the writings is especially important because the court has barred taking the minors’ depositions.
    The cases, Beye v. Horizon, 06-Civ.-5337, and Foley v. Horizon, 06-Civ.-6219, have been consolidated for discovery.
    So here we see that a child’s Myspace, blog or LiveJournal entries are going to be used to determine whether their families will have to pay for treatment or not (if they even can afford to do so).

    Yes, that’s right: Your online writings could be used in a determination made for or against approval of coverage of your treatment.

    Social networks, blogging sites and such only thrive when they publicize as much information as possible about their members. If you have a closed, private social network, it protects members’ privacy, but also keeps others from flocking to the network in the numbers to make such things successful. So most social networks and online communities err on the side of making things public, usually to the detriment of their customers’ privacy.

    We love and enjoy the empowerment that online social networks have brought so many people. But we are also painfully aware of just how public the information we make available to them becomes. And, once indexed by a search engine, how virtually impossible it is to thereafter remove such information from the Internet.
    How Can I Help Better Protect My Health Information?

    Nothing can protect you against a court order that is so general it asks for all of your online writings, no matter what their form or where they occurred. Your only defense in such a demand is to ensure your most sensitive writings are expired or get deleted after a certain amount of time (an option with many forums and bulletin boards, but rare to find in blogs or social networks).

    Having said that, you can reduce your public online profile, because if an attorney doesn’t know what to look for, they can’t ask for it in discovery.

    Pick what you share with others publicly carefully. Try to find a closed, secure community in which to do so (this is one of the secrets of why mailing lists remain very popular for health concerns, because they are virtually invisible to search engines and the general Internet). When you fill out a profile, if there aren’t privacy options for each field, opt on the side of waiting to share specific health information about yourself until you get a better feel for the community (and its public and search engine profile).

    Consider choosing a private journal or blog over a public one. There are more and more blogging choices so that you can even choose to share your entries only with family members and friends. Consider “expiring” entries over time, too. There’s no need to keep a record, forever, of your health or emotional complaints and journey.
    Be wary, not paranoid. There’s a fine line between the two, but you shouldn’t let a court case stop you from seeking and receiving the online support and care you need right now. In many cases, you can go back and ask for something to be removed or edited to remove something that may be used against you in the future.

    Investigate a social network or community before sharing. Some communities are more open to dealing with your privacy needs than others. Does the community allow you to terminate your account and erase all traces of your posting to the community? Or do they take ownership of everything you write on their site and say they will never delete anything? Most are somewhere between those two extremes, so it’s best to find out what kind of community you’re dealing with ahead of time, before you make significant contributions to it, rather than after the fact and it’s too late to take them back.
     
  2. ManlyBanisters

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    Sorry for being a fucking granny but what in the name frilly pink mosquito nets are parents doing letting their kids write shit on the internet anyway?!?

    I understand the story and that insurance companies will do just about fucking anything to avoid paying out (I bet the guy who thought of this one got a big bonus and an all expenses trip to fucking Vegas or something) but the real underlying problem I have is with kids being allowed to randomly publish shit.

    Firstly - the internet is not a safe place for kids, full stop. Fuck Net Nanny, fuck all that shit completely - kids do NOT go online unsupervised - end of story.

    Secondly - Kids lie. Do you know how many teenaged girls I knew (when I was one) who said they'd been interfered with by an adult and later confessed that it was bullshit - a story made up to grab attention? Five! Out of the six girls I knew who ever told me they had been abused only one did not turn around and admit it was a bullshit fantasy. Imagine if those girls had blogged that and it had been noticed. What kind of world of pain would that have opened up for the fathers / step-fathers accused?

    What kind of shite do you think kids are putting on their myspaces about how mistreated and misunderstood they are by their wicked parents when in fact there is nothing going on beside 'do your homework, tidy your room and no you can't have a new mobile phone!'

    And as for these fucked up pro-ana sites - well the insurance companies may even have a fucking point. :eek: Bunch of spoiled, middle class brats sitting round trying to out do each other with their fake sob stories - fucking with each other's heads and really fucking with the heads of genuine anorexia suffers. Silly little bitches - maybe they shouldn't get fucking medical insurance. :mad:
     
  3. SpoiledPrincess

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    I can't think of how I could have put that better than Manly did.
     
  4. Osiris

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    This is why I have never been a huge fan of MySpace. Yes, I do have a page, but it is private and only accessed by several old friends and family that keep in touch regularly and it is easier that way.

    We reluctantly let our teens have a MySpace page, but we have membership to their pages and monitor it. To blindly turn your child loose on the internet in this post Columbine era is foolish at best. Our little ones will not have MySpace or Facebook pages. My daughter will not have a LiveJournal or MyDiary account.

    Yes I agree with you MB about what were these kids doing posting this crap, but even moreso, where were the parents who were asleep at the wheel and not monitoring the PC or their kid's actions?
     
  5. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I'd never claim it was the problem of my parents. My issues are my issues and it's sad that people will blame their parents for their twisted problems. I've spent the last 6 or 7 years on the internet and most of my journals are hidden, I don't want people to find out who I am, what my problems are and I use different names to express myself on different sites. The internet holds unknown power to children and teens... I'm a proof to that. I seen things at 12 years old that people couldn't understand.
     
  6. ManlyBanisters

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    I still think you'd have been better off not let online unsupervised til you were at least 16.

    I'm not saying you as an individual would foist your problems off on your parents - but a lot of kids do. I also think an awful lot of adolescents and teens think they are the only person in the world who feels the pain they do and that no one could possibly understand them - this is rarely, if ever, the case.

    Oh, and it's proof of - testament to, proof of. (sorry)
     
  7. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    So in other words, they're emotionally immature. They're kids so they should be expected to be so. I do not like the trend in this country of treating kids like they are adults when it suits society but then infantalizing them when it also suits society. It does an enormous injustice to kids. I particularly agree with this when we're charging kids as adults for serious crimes. Sometimes parents and society just plain fail when it comes to kids. They need guidance, supervision, and active participation in society. Since the 60s we've somehow determined that kids have their own society and adults have theirs and that's an unnatural bifurcation of the social system that disenfranchises kids and excuses parents from responsibility.

    Situations like this also demonstrate the complete failure of the health care system. Whether the factors are biological or social, the kid is starving herself to death! Plenty of social factors contribute to mental illness, it's not all biological. Post-traumatic stress, social phobias, and body dysmorphia may all find their roots in social factors.

    If our laws state that a 16 year old is too immature to vote, live on her own, act on her own legally, then is she also not immature enough, nor educated enough, to diagnose herself? We cannot have things both ways. Teens act like adults sometimes but to also act like children others. Some teens tend more to the adult, some more to the childish, but we can count on them to always be only adult or only childish. That's the nature of adolescence and I despise the fact that American society takes advantage of teens in this manner.
     
  8. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    W/e. The fact is my parents were regulating my internet till I discovered the password. It wasn't until we were signing up for high speed and they were asked to provide a password and I blurted out the one they'd been using for 3 years or so. I used to do it when I got off of school at 3.30 till they got home at 5.00.

    I laugh now and I probably would have laughed then. I think you're suggestion of 16 is ridiculous. There are 7 and 8 year olds that know how to work a computer better than my parents can. It's the future there is no way to stop it. You can't just take that away from kids because you think it's dangerous.. really you can't control it lol. If you don't let them, then your neighborer's will..
     
  9. ManlyBanisters

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    Kink - I wasn't having a personal go at you. Trust me - at 15 I was an awfully silly little cow, far sillier in many ways than I imagine you were at the same age. It's just I have more perspective on my silliness than you do on yours - I don't imagine you'll feel the same about it when you're in your 30s - maybe you will - but you'd be the exception to the rule.

    Irrespective of that, your argument is bullshit.

    Just because kids can use computers is does not mean they should. The internet is a faily free and liberal place - I would very much like to keep it that way. If there are kids buzzing around doing whatever the fuck they like I would like that to remain their parents problem not mine. If however the world accepts that kids (minors) have an equal place on the internet then there will immediately spring up a much larger lobby group than already exists to regulate and control what is published and said and what level of anonymity people are allowed to maintain. All of that stuff is, to some extent, regulated but extremely hard to enforce.

    And yes - I CAN just take that away from kids if I think it is dangerous - I can take it away from my kids for a start. Some parents are cool with their kids knowing the combination to the ammo safe - I am not. And if a neighbour or friend's parent allowed a child of mine free and unmonitored access to the internet I would be pissed off to the highest degree. Kids can and will always sneak around behind their parents back but that does not under any circumstances mean their parents should let them do all the things they want to sneak around and do. I snuck around buying cigarettes and hash when I was 15 - should my parents have gone out and got it for me and taught me how to skin up?

    Parents who allow there kids unmonitored internet access are stupid and exposing their children to all manner of dangers. Jason put it extremely well "[kids are] emotionally immature. They're kids so they should be expected to be so".
     
  10. SpoiledPrincess

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    I didn't let my kids use the net unsupervised until they were 16, I wouldn't have let them be alone in any situation where there was a fair possibility they would encounter anything they couldn't handle until they were of an age I considered they had the common sense not to get into trouble.
     
  11. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I don't mean to sound like I'm attacking you in the posts I quote of yours, honest. Sorry if it's coming out that way. You're points are valid, just not something my parents could have controlled, so for me and all the other teens out there.. the point would have been moot.
     
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