10 Tips for Setting Boundaries Online
Good boundaries are important for healthy relationships, but when it comes to our online lives, we rarely think to create clear-cut borders. The most important reason to set boundaries online, according to psychologist and coach Dana Gionta, Ph.D, is for your “safety and protection.” Personally, you don’t want to give out private information to the world, and professionally, you don’t want to compromise your credibility and reputation, she said.
So whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media website — or just writing email — it’s important to proceed thoughtfully with your time online. Here, Gionta doles out key advice on devising and defending your boundaries.
1. Give yourself permission.
Many people think that they don’t deserve to set boundaries in the first place. We think we should automatically accept anyone who wants to befriend us on Facebook or go out of our way to help a colleague of a colleague with a recommendation on LinkedIn. Give yourself the permission to set boundaries and say no, Gionta said.
2. Consider your purpose.
According to Gionta, what helps when setting boundaries is thinking ahead about how you’d like to use social media. Ask yourself: What purpose does social media serve for me?
Are you using Facebook to keep in touch with friends, to network professionally or both? “What would make you feel safe in terms of how many people you allow [as your friends]? Do you want an open or closed profile? [Are you going to] not put up much personal information and limit access?”
Remember that if you’ve got 800 friends on Facebook — many of whom, it’s safe to say, are acquaintances, at best — all 800 are privy to your personal facts. And that can be risky, Gionta said. So consider what kinds of information you want out there.