By Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH
Recently, a young hygienist was offered a job interview in a text message one Sunday near midnight. She asked for some advice in a Facebook online community about responding to the request due to the late hour. Her online profile picture was of a very pretty young woman and I thought, “Hmm, she’s kinda pretty.”
This “dentist” could be sniffing around Facebook and looking for more than a hygienist; I didn’t say anything, though. Mentioning her looks may make me sound jealous. I’m old; I’ve never been skinny and pretty. I should just shut up.
Others gave her advice though, reminding her that sometimes text messages take an hour or longer to arrive at their destination. Some people are night owls and don’t realize how late it is. Others said that maybe he would have called but, since it was late, he just sent a short note.
Other articles by Gutkowski
- Career management with an exit strategy
- The myth of cross-training
- The Autism Experience: Helping practice families deal with autism
Later the next day she reported having spoken to the dentist on the phone. After telling her there were “changes” happening at the office that he didn’t like, he asks to interview her over dinner. Red Flag. Lots of hygienists posted a warning to be careful. Many suggested coffee, or to take the meeting over coffee — with her father, if necessary. Another hygienist posted that she was able to look at all of the hygienist’s pictures on Facebook. So I went the extra step and took a look too.
She is pretty. Her personality shines in her pictures. So does her vulnerability, and a little bit of sexiness. Some of her pictures make her look like a sex kitten (I guess that shows my age). Another click and I found her actual birthdate and year. Suddenly it dawned on me that her pictures look like all the pictures on television shows such 48 Hours and 20/20 reports of missing girls — girls who didn’t activate their dangerous mind when they posted their fun pictures.
If you’re on social media as a young woman who takes selfies, you need to be aware of what those pictures say to perverts. My professional picture gets hits from men who think I’m beautiful or have a great smile. They’re not looking for anything above board; they’re looking for money. Two more clicks for them would reveal how married I am. Last month, my husband called our son and suggested he take down a picture of his wife, our daughter-in-law, because it was accidentally sexy, too sexy. When you post a picture, think of the lowest lowlife and how that picture may affect a person with that mindset and little self- control. Set your picture preferences to friends only for those photos.
Be sure you have the location setting on your smart phone camera turned off too. People who think their rights trump yours will be unable to find your exact location. In the example of the hygienist above, the dentist had the hygienist’s resume with her full address and digits on it. But if she was out camping and posting pictures, she could be another kind of target. Yes, it’s sad that we live in a world where we have to be so careful.
Look around at other pictures of people having fun. Are they sexy, or are they having a nice time? You can have fun, you really can, and you can share your fun online. Save the sexy pictures for yourself or your close friends. No one is against sexy pictures.
Seems no one is safe. We all just learned about the lack of security in the Cloud where a swarm of starlets had their private naked pictures released to the world. Yes, you do need to be careful out there. Know how to use your technology, and adjust your settings to be a safe as possible without cramping your style. Think like a pervert before you post anything on social media, and you’ll be happier and safer.
Shirley Gutkowski is the technology coach at CAREERfusion. She’s the author or co-author of a number publications for dental hygienists promoting career growth, and caries management. Gutkowski is also a practiced dental hygienist, international speaker, podcast host, and industry consultant.