Things I Have Been Thinking About in Terms of Internet Privacy (& Related to the List Going Public)

I recently, begrudgingly, allowed my almost 11-yo to join Instagram. He has friends from camp back east and a few out of the country he wanted to keep up with, so I relented. We had a lot of conversations about privacy, posting, not accepting requests from strangers, etc.
  1. My son is friends with a child of a very, very public couple
    The child is lovely, and it is not a big deal in their friendship (as it should be)
  2. They friended each other on Instagram this week
  3. Both accounts are private. Both kids have very few followers. My son has only posted 4 pictures over a few months.
    As it should be
  4. After connecting with his friend, his friend's sibling sent him a request and they mutually followed each other.
  5. That night, I was checking his feed (full transparency is part of the deal) and saw that the friend's sibling had messaged him on Instagram
    I thought this was kind of weird. They're friendly but not messaging-friendly
  6. I did a quick search and realized that this seemed to be a very well-done imposter account....but I wasn't sure
  7. So we asked him some questions that only he could answer about his relationship to my son, etc
  8. And he deflected some of the questions. So we thought for sure he was fake.
    But he also sent us some pictures as "proof," and they were personal, authentic pictures.
  9. But then he said he knew that my son was friends with his brother from school. And named the school.
  10. And it really freaked me out.
  11. Because then I realized that in one of the four pictures my son had put up, he had been wearing a uniform shirt, and this guy - who was clearly stalking the friend's family -had looked at his pictures and now knew where my kid went to school
  12. And I am sure that this is 10000x more concerning - in many ways - for my son's friend and his family but it really made my heart stop for a moment
  13. I texted the friend's nanny and sure enough, the account was once legit but had been taken over by a hacker
  14. We reported him to Instagram and blocked him
  15. He tried to friend my son again. And also sent a request from another legit-looking but fake account of a friend of the sibling
    It felt like this guy wanted any sort of in he could get to the friend. It was eye-opening
  16. We, of course, declined them all and continued to discuss online privacy and what this all meant
  17. But it made me realize, in light also of the Ashley Madison scandal, that even when you think you are protected online, you often are not. Some celeb-stalker now knows where my kid goes to school.
    Again, not that my son is in danger but as a parent, it gives you pause.
  18. Also, if I had been even a tiny bit less savvy, I never would have realized this was a hacker, and he would have had full access to my son's account at all times
  19. Which brings me back to the List App going public, and how I can already think of some things I'll delete.
  20. But maybe that was a false sense of security, and this is another reminder that if you can't live with it out there, don't put it out there
    Also, don't sign up for a website where you cheat on your spouse. Duh.
  21. I dunno. I'll be thinking about this for a while, I guess.
  22. Ps- I hope this list doesn't come off as a weird humblebrag about my son's friend. I don't mean it in any way like that. I'm fairly protective of him and their relationship. Only mentioned it bc it has been on my mind.