One of the ways, we as humans, like to communicate is still the telephone. In the world of social networking, who knows the reality of who the other person is on the other side of your conversations is. That is until you have met them in real life. So how do we get to that point of trust? We start with a simple phone call. A fear by some, and rightfully so, is giving out your phone number to protect yourself from the infinite amount of calls you could receive, inordinate amount of text messages and even locating you by using your phone number and the Internet.
Some people feel that unless you openly publish your phone number in the phone book, a reverse directory (found freely on the Internet) would be of no use to anyone even with your home number. That is also incorrect. We are reaching the time where even the phone companies make mistakes and phone numbers get reused quickly. We had this issue when getting a new phone number years ago and the barrage of calls began looking for the person that had the number just months before. From there you get into simple reverse lookups that will show the exact area that a number is dedicated for, so the stalker has a starting point.
So what is a solution to all of this? You invest in an Internet number to protect your privacy. With these, you mask your true phone number and also gain invaluable tools through many of the sites that offer this service. A few even offer hooks into VOIP solutions meaning you can talk over your computer wherever you are, for free.
Let me simplify this for my readers that are newer to the Internet, social networking or even reading this to help their kids. Protecting yourself from social stalking reaches far beyond a fake screen name and never saying where you live or what school you attend. Kids (and some adults) feel the phone is still a safe option. It isn’t anymore.
This is now owned by Google and has some incredibly powerful features.
- I can sort callers into groups and ring specific phones (cell, home, work) or even route them to voicemail automatically
- I can send callers to an out of service message
- I can create custom greetings
- I can dial out as that number
- I can listen in as they leave a voicemail and then pick up the call in the middle
- I can transfer calls between phones I have in my settings (cell, home, work, whatever)
- and more.. just see the site for a long list
The problem is that it is hard to get a number and account from them right now. We were lucky to get in when they were not Google and get a number that we use constantly for not only privacy but ease of finding us at any number when we want.
Private Number (from FreeConferenceCall)
A new offering, with a small monthly charge for you to get a phone number with unlimited voicemail capabilities. They are targeting this at social network users directly to use as a front end to giving out your real phone number. You can use the web and even get the information as podcasts and RSS feeds. Quite a great tool for teenagers at a low cost to prtect their privacy.
For a longer list of these services use this Google search and take your pick. Step up into better means to protect your privacy and your kids by teaching them how to use these tools.