A blog, short for web log, is a website that is regularly updated with new posts, similar to a diary. Services such as Blogger, WordPress and MSN Spaces have made it easy for private individuals and companies to set up their own blogs.

The risks

  • Your details could be discovered even if you blog under an assumed name, or anonymously.
  • You might regret later, something that you blog about. For example, you may lose your job or fail an interview because of embarrassing posts, or upset a friend, relative or loved one.
  • Blogs are subject to libel law. Posting something that is untrue about an individual or organisation could incur serious penalties.
  • Remember – what you post online stays online … anything you post remains in the public domain and accessible indefinitely. Even if you subsequently delete the post, it may have been cached in a search engine or internet archive, or in a company server.
  • You may think you have a small audience, but blogs are public and it is very easy for people to find information on them via search engines.
  • The ‘comment’ feature present on many blogs could be exploited by spammers including links to websites they are promoting, cyber-criminals including links to fraudulent websites, or people using abusive or threatening language.
  • Children unwittingly revealing personal information or posting photographs of themselves.

Safe blogging

  • If you want your blog to be public, disclose only what you want everyone on the Internet to know. Otherwise, keep your blog private.
  • Periodically review who has access to your site and make changes if necessary.
  • Keep details that identify you only to yourself and trusted people.
  • Do not post confidential information that might be used to steal your identity such as credit card numbers, passport details or home address.
  • Consider using an assumed name if you wish to keep your identity secret for personal safety, political reasons or security of employment.
  • Be careful what information you disclose such as your address, school, place of work or birthday.
  • Be careful about the photos you post as they may reveal things about you that you would rather keep private.
  • Be careful about what private feelings you share in your blog.
  • Be aware of what friends blog about you, or write in comments on your blog, particularly about your personal details and activities.
  • Be cautious about meeting in person someone you only know through blogging.
  • Ensure that children are aware of the dangers of blogging to a public audience.
  • If you are new to blogging, start cautiously. Understand the features of the software you use and how the blogging community (the ‘blogosphere’) works, including how to filter comments.
  • Do not post anything that may cause you embarrassment at a later date.