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Leaving digital footprints

Some other things to consider is the amount of time spent in online communities, social media sites, or playing games. Whenever someone posts a comment or photo online, they may be hit with a slew of responses.

A lot of time can slip away, looking at the feedback and keeping the virtual dialogue going. It might be a good idea to monitor this and determine if some of this time should go to more essential things. Patients might also consider taking a social media sabbatical every couple of weeks.

People tend to be less reserved in what they blurt out on the internet than what they might say in person and this also applies to patients.

What one does online, stays online!

Social media is not a good place to vent one's personal issues, to post ongoing complaints or frantic comments, and to reveal too much information. Everyone's internet activity leaves digital footprints and a trail that others can easily follow, track someone's activity or interests, and/or end up in unknown destinations.

For instance, when someone "likes" a product or a business, the web browser will send information about that person's visit to a website. That person becomes automatically linked to that site and they might be displayed on that site or in their news feed.

People may not realize how a click here and there, has the potential of making them quite visible and getting targeted for a lot of unsolicited ads.

Overall, social media, message boards and blogs are "good things" providing people use these with a basic understanding of how things work as well as discretion and moderation.