In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain privacy. Your personal data is considered currency by advertisers and tech companies. Meanwhile, your grandma is now on Facebook and religiously commenting on every photo you post.
In a strange twist, however, the expanse of the internet can also provide the solace of anonymity in some of the most sensitive situations. Companies have identified the yearning for privacy many of us feel and tailored their services to fill that need. Here are a few things that, with the help of the internet, you can take care of from the privacy of your own home – or phone.
Protect yourself online
Luckily, many of the things people prefer to keep private can now be accomplished online. However, just because your neighbors can’t see your activity doesn’t mean it’s confidential. If you’ve ever viewed a product on Amazon and been stalked by related ads for weeks, you already know companies are buying and selling your personal data. Before moving things online, take steps to make sure your online activity truly stays private.
Cybersecurity provider Kaspersky recommends setting up your browser to automatically delete cookies and temporary files. Using a privacy-focused browser and search engine can also help protect your data. You might even choose to use a tool like AdBlocker or a virtual private network (VPN) to help prevent tracking.
Keep your reproductive health to yourself
Few things deserve to stay private more than your reproductive health. Yet everyone from legislators to strangers online seems to have an opinion on it. No one deserves to feel shamed or judged walking into a pharmacy to buy birth control, but many of us have.
Today, many women are taking their reproductive health into their own hands by turning to online birth control providers. For example, Nurx can provide your regular birth control method – including the pill, patch, ring and shot – and even emergency contraception discreetly delivered to your home.
Mental health therapy
In the past few decades, we’ve decreased the stigma around improving and prioritizing mental health. More younger Americans see a therapist and people are more aware of the resources available to those who are struggling. The internet plays an important role in this positive trend, because of both the availability of information and the increased communication it enables.
Online therapy options such as BetterHelp are growing in popularity. After all, the ways we communicate have changed, and many people are more comfortable discussing difficult topics via the written word than speaking aloud. Finding the right therapist is important to your success, and eliminating the geographic element allows you to cast a wider net and find someone who’s a great fit.
Dieting or improving nutrition
Speaking of self-improvement, about half of Americans say they’re trying to lose weight. Some people find that announcing their plans to improve their nutrition provides the accountability they need to follow through. However, for others, sharing those intentions can be embarrassing or cause anxiety if they struggle to meet their goals.
To get that accountability without sharing your goals with your nosy coworker, consider turning to an online support group for weight loss motivation. Often, an online support group provides better accountability than a typical friend group because its members have something in common. Christel Oerum, a personal trainer, said it best: “You may not want to share all your struggles and insecurities with Jenny from work or even your closest friends, but you can share them with the online group without being judged.”
Manage your finances
Many Americans would rather talk about sex, politics and addiction than their finances. This taboo around discussing money exists because people find it uncomfortable to expose inequity between themselves and others.
Avoiding financial topics might make dinner conversation smoother, but revealing inequities is the first step to fixing them. Your friend who’s been wildly successful with her startup likely has a wealth of insight that could help you excel in your own career. To bridge this gap, some financial management tools are incorporating peer comparisons and communication. Status anonymizes your peers’ financial data to help you gauge how you compare. Users can also ask questions and share advice anonymously.
Maintain your privacy in a virtual world
Some things in life are simply better kept private. Reproductive and mental health, intentions to lose weight and financial details are all things that many people don’t feel comfortable broadcasting to the world. If you prefer to maintain privacy in these areas, you’re not alone. Through the power of the internet, you can now manage them online while keeping some level of privacy and anonymity.
Guest Author Bio
Jamie is a freelance writer who covers trends in business, technology, and health. She loves to go skiing, camping, and rock climbing with her family.