How To Almost Completely Erase Your Digital Footprint

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Although its almost impossible to completely wipe out your entire digital footprint as if you’ve never had access to the internet, but you can get close. If you’d like to make an attempt to completely remove yourself from the internet, we’ve got a few tips and tricks that could help you along the way. 

To go the full off-the-grid route, “it’s cash, barters,” Bradley Shear, a lawyer specializing in social media told The Washington Post. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”  Which leads us to the first item to consider.

The first thing you want to do is the hardest for some, but its the most obvious. You need to quit appearing online.  Stop posting on Facebook or Twitter and no longer use search engines.  All of those will track your location and Internet usage leaving behind your digital footprint. Of course, just not using the internet isn’t quite enough if you’d like yourself completely gone in full-off-the-grid fashion.

The next step would be deleting your online accounts. Every single one of them. Having a social media account is, more or less, ensuring your active participation in letting the Internet learn more about you. Facebook, in particular, knows a lot about you and is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the Web, even when you’re not actively using it. If you need help deleting your accounts, consider JustDelete.Me, which provides tips and links to remove accounts.  But you can’t just remove your accounts and expect that it’s done and over with. You will also need to remove any and all information and content that is posted about you by others.  This can get a little trickier, but you could consider trying Abine’s DeleteMe, which for a fee can assist in removing your personal contact information and your photos and will provide you with a regular report and updates.

Next, you want to search for yourself on the Internet.  This will help you discover if there are any old accounts (does anyone even remember MySpace?) that you may have forgotten you had just lingering around. If you happen to come across an account you cannot delete, just start falsifying the information.  Change the name on the account to whatever you want it to be, that’s different than yours, obviously. Change the city and state and leave the gender “unselected” if possible.  The less information you put in, the less you have to falsify.

You are also going to want to unsubscribe from all of those mailing lists you’ve accidentally signed up for during your Internet travels. That’s usually pretty easy to do.  Go into your junk folder and open up the advertisements.  Scroll to the bottom of the email and click the tiny word “unsubscribe.”  When it directs you to, make sure you choose to no longer receive ANY email that you’d consider “junk.”  Afterall, that’s why it was in that folder, to begin with anyway, right?

If you still need the Internet for work, you may have to stop here.  Having removed social media and cleaning up your email will go a long way in minimizing your online trail.  But for those who wish to continue on and “go dark,” your next step would be deleting search engine results. Google has a URL removal tool that could help. The next step would be contacting webmasters of websites you have no control over.  Be kind, and let them know you’d like your information and comments removed.  Be prepared to be told by some that all public information should remain public, in which case, you may be out of luck.  You’ll also need patience.  Not every single webmaster will get back to you in a timely manner.

Once you’ve completed everything listed above, you should consider removing your information from data clearinghouses.  Many companies track your online behavior and sell that data to others.  Intelius, Spokeo, and People Finders are a few examples of such data clearinghouses. In order to remove your information from these, however, will take up a lot of your time.  You’ll need to make a lot of phone calls and fill out tons of paperwork.  A paid service called DeleteMe could be considered if you’ve got some extra cash laying around.  For all others, you will need time and patience and determination to get through this step.

Once you feel you’ve gotten yourself removed from data clearinghouses, you should contact the phone company and be sure to make your phone number unlisted.

The last step would be to delete your email. “Every time you access it, they have your IP address,” Shear said.  This is last simply because, during the completion of the previous steps, an email address is likely going to be required at some point.

If you’ve decided you cannot completely “go dark” as far an internet use is concerned, consider protecting your data and information by using an encrypted email service such as ProtonMail. And if you want your activity not to be tracked across the Web, you would have to essentially use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the Internet unless you exclusively access the Internet from public machines (such as those at a public library). For searching online, you can use sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Yahoo, or any other search engine that tracks you. Also, consider Signal, a text and phone-call encryption app that comes with a recommendation from Edward Snowden himself.

Although it seems it may be futile to attempt to “go dark,” you just might be successful. Best of luck to those who have the desire to disappear from the Internet, because you’ll need it, and all the patience you can muster.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Awesome Information Resources (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!)

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We’re guessing that, like us, you’re constantly striving to improve your garden and your gardening methods … to make your composting processes a little bit more efficient … to strengthen the microbial activity in your soil a little bit more … to improve your favorite vegetable variety through seed saving and experimentation … and the list goes on!

And while you can achieve those goals by yourself, no one would argue that getting a little help from others makes the process a whole lot smoother, faster, and more fun!

So where do our Community members turn when they’re looking for advice and information on gardening, homesteading, and home medicine (besides The Grow Network, of course!)?

We asked them recently and compiled the following list of recommended resources. (Many thanks to Fibrefarmer, Marcia, Mary Kathryn, Permies949, Scott Sexton, tracyWandling, and all the other TGN Community members who contributed their ideas!)

Wildcrafting, Foraging, and Plant Identification

  • Eat the Weeds (blog and educational resources about foraging and edible wild plants)
  • Plants for a Future (database containing the edible, medicinal, and other uses of more than 7,000 plants)

Gardening, Farming, and Permaculture

  • Acres USA (Marjory says, “Mostly geared towards small farmers, the in-depth articles on a particular crop are great.”)
  • Your local Extension office (Merin says, “The climate and wildlife here (SW Colorado) are so different from those where I used to live (SE Texas) that it has been really helpful to be able to speak to our Extension agent and fellow Master Gardeners in this area to learn how to tackle some of the differences. A lot of them are also a wealth of information on organic and permaculture practices that work in this area….”)
  • MIgardener.com (gardening products and information)
  • North Texas Vegetable Gardeners Facebook group (“I love this group because it’s focused on gardening in my region,” says TGN’s social media manager Ruth Reyes-Loiacan. “It’s nice to have a large community of local people doing the same thing. Currently, the group has 29,000 members!”)
  • Permies (Of this forum for permaculturists and homesteaders, tracyWandling says, “It has a category for just about everything, and a wide variety of contributors of all levels who share their experiences and expertise with readers. It’s a great place to ask questions and interact with others who are doing the same things you are and are always willing to lend a helping hand. Great site.”)
  • PermaEthos (educational and community-building site)
  • Permaculture Apprentice (permaculture-related resources)
  • Permaculture Design Magazinere (contains articles on eco-regeneration, broadscale farming systems, agroforestry, home garden design, and community action)
  • Permaculture Magazine (magazine for permaculture enthusiasts covers all aspects of life)
  • Praxxus55712 YouTube channel (Marcia says she also recommends the YouTube channel WisconsinGarden.)
  • Self-Reliant School (information on growing, cooking, and preserving food)
  • Stacey Murphy/BK Farmyards (offers educational training about backyard farming and real food)
  • Tenth Acre Farm: Permaculture for the Suburbs (information on micro-farming)

Homesteading and Sustainability

  • BackYard Chickens (Merin adds that, with nearly 100,000 members—many of whom are both knowledgeable and willing to share information—the related Backyard Chickens Facebook group is also a great resource for backyard chicken keepers.)
  • Food in Jars Community Facebook group (Wendy Meredith says it offers “great ideas and new recipes on how to can much of what I produce.”)
  • MelissaKNorris.com (information on raising, preserving, and preparing food; home of the Pioneering Today podcast)
  • Mother Earth News Magazine (articles on homesteading and organic gardening, with a focus on self-sufficiency and sustainability)
  • The Prairie Homestead (blog offering homesteading advice)
  • Starry Hilder’s Off-Grid Homestead (blog about off-grid homesteading)
  • The Survival Podcast (online talk show about modern survivalism, sustainability, and alternative energy)

Health and Herbalism

Finally, regardless of the category, remember that your local library likely offers myriad excellent, free resources. “My library is a tremendous source of inspiration,” says TGN Community member Fibrefarmer. “They have the best books for the best price (free), but I have to give them back after a few weeks :(.  But still, it saves money, and they let me borrow the books as many times as I need. If they don’t have the book, they can order a copy or borrow it from another library via interlibrary loan.”

What about you? Is your favorite resource on this list? If not, let us know about it by leaving us a note in the comments!

__________________________________

The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!

 

The post Awesome Information Resources (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!) appeared first on The Grow Network.

The Social Network!

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The Social Network
James Walton “I Am Liberty ” Audio player below!

Are you concerned about social media? Do you wonder about your privacy on sites like Twitter and Facebook? It has been made painfully clear that these businesses aren’t afraid to silence those they disagree with and promote those they do not. On this show we explore the ever growing world of social media and how it has changed our lives.

Continue reading The Social Network! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

What Can The Greatest Generation Teach Millennials?

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Sometimes when I’m browsing through social media posts, I feel like I live in a different world than many of my fellow citizens, especially those a good deal younger. There is no denying we live in a world of contrasting opinions and worldviews. Modern technology has made it more convenient than ever to display our unique […]

Having Trouble With Facebook?!

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I think this email says it all!
“Hi Keith,
It looks like you’re having trouble with logging in to Facebook. Just click the button below and we’ll log you in”.
You sent me this message, but it did not help me to get back on Facebook. I have no idea WHY you locked me out in the first place!
I have tried to get back on numerous times, but you apparently ASSUME that I know by SIGHT all my Facebook friends. I DON’T!!! Nor have I any intention of sending you copies of my private documents to prove who I am. You shut me out, I did not leave. I have a book page, my personal page, I am admin on a group, & I had membership in several groups, & you blocked my membership. I can no longer share with any of the groups, & the group that I ran can no longer accept new membership or close down. It is in limbo because of you.
You want me back on? You fix it. If you don’t want me back on, STOP SENDING ME NOTIFICATIONS FROM FACEBOOK!!!
Very Sincerely, Keith H. Burgess.

Student Gets Suspended … For ‘Liking’ An Airsoft Gun Picture On Instagram

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Student Gets Suspended … For ‘Liking’ An Airsoft Gun Picture On Instagram

Just “liking” a picture of a gun on social media can get a student suspended from school in New Jersey.

Zachary Bowlin discovered this the hard way when he was suspended from Edgewood Middle School for 10 days because he liked a picture of an airsoft gun on Instagram.

“The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence,” a note from the school to Bowlin’s parents read.

Bowlin liked the photo outside school hours.

“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about seven, eight o’clock I liked it,” Bowlin told Fox 19. “The next morning they called me down [to the office], patted me down and checked me for weapons.”

His father said Zachary never should have been suspended.

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Student Gets Suspended … For ‘Liking’ An Airsoft Gun Picture On Instagram“I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking, ‘You just suspended him for 10 days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site,” Zachary’s father, Marty Bowlin, said. “He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post.”

The suspension was lifted after news media contacted Edgewood City Schools. Zachary will face no further discipline, but parents of students received an email from the district that indicted officials were responding to a threat. Superintendent Ross Fussnecker released the following statement to the media:

Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption “Ready,” and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows:

The Board has a “zero tolerance” of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students.

Furthermore, the policy states: 

Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process.

As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious including those who “like” the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below

 

7 Modern Things Our Great-Grandparents Didn’t Have (That We Don’t Need, Either)

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7 Modern Things Our Great-Grandparents Didn’t Have (That We Don’t Need, Either)

Technology is wonderful, isn’t it? I mean, every day, someone is coming out with something new that they claim everyone just has to have. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the latest app for our smartphones or the latest gadget for our kitchens, there’s always something new out there for those who are looking for something to buy.

But I’ll have to say, while some technology has made life better for us, much of it has stolen the essence of life. While it has given us new things we never had before, it has stolen so much more. In today’s fast-paced, technologically driven society, we’ve traded meaningful relationships for staring at a screen. We’ve traded creating things with our hands, for using our hands to control a joystick.

Have these things truly enriched us? I think not. Of course, some of these marvels have saved us time, freeing us up for things that are more important in life. But all too often, that extra time is merely wasted on something that doesn’t bring a true reward.

It’s clear that our grandparents and great-grandparents lived a simpler life. Many times, I think they lived a better one, too. Oh, they didn’t have the medical advances we have today, that’s true. But there is little else that modern technology has given us, which we can’t do without. Let’s examine a few items.

1. Television

I’ve long said that television is the biggest time-waster there is. When I was a child, I’d run home from school and plop down in front of the TV, just like everyone else. We had a whole program of cartoons and comedies we’d watch for several hours, literally throwing our time away.

Then, one day, I realized how much time television was stealing from my life. So, I quit — just like that. It was amazing. I suddenly found that I had time — time to do all the things I had wanted to do.

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That’s not to say that everything that’s on TV is a waste of time. Some of it is actually quite valuable. But the valuable stuff is far outnumbered by the things that merely waste your time.

2. Social media

If there is anything that has replaced the television as the great time-waster, it’s social media. We no longer talk to people; now we just look to see what they posted. Personal relationships have been replaced by a quasi-relationship with a “friend” on social media.

Once again, social media is not without redemption. There are things that it’s useful for. But most of the time, it’s about people telling you trivial things about their trivial life. I mean, whatever gave people the idea that everyone needed to see pictures of their lunch or of their cat batting at a piece of string? We’ve all seen it before.

3. Computer games

7 Modern Things Our Great-Grandparents Didn’t Have (That We Don’t Need, Either)If social media is addicting, computer games are even more so. There’s always one more level you’ve got to get through and one more enemy you’ve got to beat. And what do you get when you finally beat them? The opportunity to do it again with the next level and the next enemy.

Granted, computer games are a lot of fun. I like them, too. But what do they help you accomplish? How do they enrich your life? What skills do they help you hone, which will serve you well? Truthfully, none. Plus, they’re addicting.

4. Many kitchen appliances

Like most people, I like food. I even like to cook. Once upon a time, I thought I might become a chef. But I went another direction before I could get serious about that. Still, I can remember kneading bread on the kitchen counter and cutting onions fine with a chef’s knife.

But in today’s kitchen, you don’t need to know how to knead bread or mince onions — you’ve got a machine to do it for you. Want fresh bread? Simply pay $59.95 and this machine will make you fresh bread every morning. Those onions? Don’t cry about it; buy a food processor and let it chop them for you.

Honestly, I think that most kitchen appliances were invented not to make life easier, but to make some company money. Oh, some are useful; I wouldn’t want to whip cream without a mixer. But who really needs a popcorn popper to pop their corn? Can’t they do it in a pan, like people have done for years? Or has everyone forgotten how to cook?

5. Fast food

Now here’s one that’s literally killing us… fast food. While I’m sure that there is some sort of fast food out there that’s actually healthy, most of it is high fat, high salt, high cholesterol and high calorie.

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America has a national obesity problem, and a lot of that is because of fast food and its brother, junk food. Yeah, we all love a greasy hamburger and pile of golden brown French fries, but that’s not the best thing for us to be eating. At least, it’s not the best thing for us to be eating if we want to have anything left of our health.

6. Diet & exercise systems

7 Modern Things Our Great-Grandparents Didn’t Have (That We Don’t Need, Either) Once upon a time, people worked with their hands, even working up a good sweat in their day. They didn’t need to go on a diet or go to the gym, because their daily workload kept them in shape. They didn’t need the latest fad diet and they didn’t need to spend a fortune on exercise equipment.

Modern work and life in general are very sedentary. Most of us don’t get enough activity in our normal work or family activities to burn the calories we need to burn. So, what do we do instead? We go on diets and go to the gym. Since we don’t do either regularly enough, our weight goes up and down, like a yo-yo.

7. Smartphones

Now, I will have to say that smartphones are very useful. I use one, just like everyone else. But as I look around at the world around me, I’m finding that I’m having to identify people by looking at the tops of their heads. No longer do people interact or even acknowledge each other’s presence; all our attention is focused on our smartphone.

How can anyone say that that’s a good way to live? Wouldn’t we be better off with a simpler phone and maybe actually talking to the people around us? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to look at something besides a screen? How many selfies do we need, anyway?

 _______________________________

I foresee a day when the zombie apocalypse will come. It won’t be like most people think, though. These zombies will be people who are wandering around lost, because they don’t have their television sets, their smartphones or their social media. They actually will have to talk to people and do real work with their hands — and they won’t know how.

There are too many things going on in the world today, to even think that life will continue as it is right now. When that time comes, what are we going to do?

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

 

Digital Detox: let your mind off-grid

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Digital Detox, phone, smartphone, social media, internet, camp, off-grid, technology

We need to stop looking down and start looking up!

Rising heart rate, a sense of panic, breathing becoming shallow and inconsistent. It is highly likely that you have experienced these very symptoms at some point during your life. Perhaps you were in a confined space, feeling claustrophobic, or you were in a large crowd feeling disorientated….or perhaps you misplaced or lost your smart phone. Maybe you hadn’t even lost it, but the battery symbol was flashing red – oh no my cell’s going to die! If this sounds like you or someone you know, chances are you have smartphone separation anxiety – a.k.a. “nomophobia”. This has led to the need for us to have a digital detox.

What is “nomophobia”?

This term was coined in 2010 and relates to the feelings of anxiety linked to losing your phone, having no network coverage or when your battery is running low. Researchers at Iowa State University have found that there are four main components to nomophobia. The first is the fear of not being able to communicate with people or being in contact; the second is losing connectedness in general; the third not being able to access information and the fourth is not having the convenience that a smartphone brings. Watch the video below from Iowa State University to find out more about nomophobia.

But why does this anxiety happen?

Smartphones and technology have many benefits, but it has also infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. Let’s face it, we rely on our phones an enormous amount – because they can do so much! Need directions? Check a date in the calendar? Don’t know the answer to a question? Need to make a call? More often than not, we all reach for our phone. If we think about it, they organise and navigate our daily lives more than we think.

Research has shown that we rely on our devices as much as we rely on a life partner. That is a scary thought – surely a device can’t replace someone as important as a spouse or significant other? The psychology behind this subconscious thought process though is very interesting. If we have a reliable source of external information on a specific topic, then we are less motivated and likely to remember that information for ourselves. If we need the answer to something we go to our reliable information source.

Before now, these reliable sources of information would take the form of people, and to some extent still do. For example, my dad knows a lot about cars I however, live in blissful ignorance and know very little. But I know all too well I can go to him for help so I am less motivated to learn and retain information about anything car-related.  The exact same process happens in our brains except now we don’t turn to people for help, we turn to our smartphones. Why should we bother remembering things when we can ask Siri? This reliance has led to what scientists are calling “digital dementia” – reduced cognitive abilities related to the overuse of gadgets.

It’s not just Digital Dementia we have to worry about

Digital detox, online, technology, smartphone, off-grid, mind, mental

Even when we’re on holiday, we’re still connected to our phones and technology – no online detoxing happening!

There are plenty of other health impacts from the overuse of our devices. Staring at phones and screens for extended periods of time, especially in low light, can lead to eye strain and headaches. The blue light can also impact our sleep patterns, especially with use just before sleep. After all, who isn’t tempted to check your favourite social media site just one last time before you close your eyes? Plus using social media sites in place of social interactions with actual people, can also lead to depression and anxiety. Constantly comparing yourself to others through an Instagram filter or the selfies on Facebook can impact your self-esteem.

Decreases in physical activity are also common place. After a long day at work, it’s very tempting to veg out in front of the television, laptop, i-pad, or pick up your phone to keep connected.

We need a Digital Detox

So far it’s all sounding pretty doom and gloom isn’t it? But there is hope on the horizon, in the form of a digital detox. A study, funded by company Kovert Designs, observed 35 people with no gadgets in the Moroccan Desert. The results were astounding. After four days researchers observed improved posture with greater eye contact being made during conversations. Memory also improved as people were more present in conversations instead of having one eye on their phone, meaning they were better able to process and store more information from the conversation. Remembering finer details from conversations also helps people to build stronger bonds and relationships with each other. Improved sleep patterns were also seen as the participants weren’t checking phones before sleeping. Therefore, their melatonin levels weren’t suppressed, enabling them to have a more uninterrupted night’s sleep.

An off-grid mind set

The results of the study have shown that digitally detoxing can have health benefits as well as improving your relationships with those around you. It also helps stem your whirring mind and unplug from the world for a short while – which is no bad thing!

Companies like Digital Detox, offer retreats providing off-grid accommodation and workshops – no digital technology allowed! The idea behind these retreats is to disconnect with the online world and reconnect with your sense of self. Camp Grounded, Mendocino, California is set in a beautiful 2,000 acres of woodland and described as a pure, unadulterated camp for grown-ups! Hiking through the countryside, practising mindfulness and yoga, as well as art and writing workshops are all a part of this all-inclusive program. Testimonials from Digital Detox include it being a “rejuvenating time” and a “transformational experience”.

The next Camp Grounded retreat offered by Digital Detox is from May 20th to May 23rd with tickets starting at $695 based on options chosen.

 

What can you do day to day?

If you don’t have the funds to spend a long weekend detoxing from your smartphone device, there are some things you can do at home. Tania Mulry, a digital marketing guru gave some tips on having an immediate digital detox in a TEDx talk at La Sierra University.

  • Turn off your notifications to quiet unnecessary noise from all of those apps.
  • Get rid of toxic apps and pages that bait you into wasting hours of your life by dragging you into commenting.
  • Go into Airplane mode, just because it’s in the title doesn’t mean this has to be solely used for airplanes. This takes you out of the rat race of notifications until you’re ready to reconnect with the online world.
  • Set a time in the evening after which you don’t touch your devices and gadgets, this will help you settle back into a healthy sleep pattern without your melatonin levels being interrupted.
  • Occupy your free time with a new hobby instead of filling your time with scrolling through screens.
  • Deepen connections with those around you by interacting face to face rather than through an online device.

See the full TED Talk from Digital Marketer Tania Mulry about the need for a Digital Detox.

You might like:

Simplify Your Life: Disconnect to Reconnect

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Simplify Your Life: Disconnect to Reconnect

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Simplify, Unplug, Disconnect, Reconnect, Social Media

Unplug from social media and take some time out

We all need to simplify our lives. We live in a world where we are constantly connected, consistently plugged in and never switched off. The demands and responsibilities of life: jobs, bills, children, insurance, medical care and social media means we are constantly occupied. Balancing and juggling a hundred tasks whilst ensuring Facebook and Twitter knows only the best version of ourselves. The version that is carefree and doesn’t have a million things racing around in our mind. Our lives are anything but simple.

In fact perhaps in this world we live in, the hardest thing to do is simplify our lives.

We are constantly surrounded by external stimulation – the text message beep, the Facebook notification, the ever growing number of rules and regulations we must live our lives by.

Do we blame technology for this? More often than not, the answer is probably yes.

Should we blame technology for this? If we think deeply enough, perhaps the answer is no. We have the power to simplify.

Technology has given us the option to be connected. But it does not force us to remain so. We have a choice, and too often we choose to remain embroiled in all of life’s demands and responsibilities. When in fact we have a responsibility to ourselves to take time out. To remove ourselves from the constant clamour and buzz of modern day life – to “chillax” as the kids would say.

Even those who live off-grid, a supposedly “simple” life, can still feel the need for a release of responsibility.

Off-grid living is far from simple! Hunting, scavenging, collecting water, the mere act of trying to survive in isolation is complicated. Whilst city dwellers are dealing with the tirade of information from the huge numbers of people around them, off-gridders are trying to control the rampages of their own thoughts and imagination.

For Christmas, I received a book titled “The Little Book of Hygge”. The word “hygge” derives from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being”. It has lead me to think that simplifying my life doesn’t have to be releasing myself from the demands of everyday life – or my responsibilities.  It is instead a state of mind.  Ensuring that every so often I indulge myself in some time out – a mental release if you will – allows me to be clear minded when it comes to coping with life’s stresses.

Everyone has their own way of unplugging and finding time for themselves. Some do yoga and meditation; others sink into a good book or wander around an art gallery lost in thought. My dad tinkers with his pride and joy, a classic car, and I take my camera and amble off into the countryside. Whatever it takes for you to take a mental release and come back refreshed, make sure you make the time to do it on a regular basis.

Whether on or off-grid, simplifying your life is really very simple – it is your state of mind.

The post Simplify Your Life: Disconnect to Reconnect appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How to Unplug from the Digital World

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Erase yourself from the Search Engines

There is plenty of information out there about how to physically move off the grid, but what about going off the grid in the digital world? For many off-gridders, a social media or digital presence is still necessary – to remain plugged into the world around us, at least socially. But as the ease with which the government – and landlords, potential employers, even strangers – can track our movements online increases, so too seems to be the interest in disappearing from the digital world and becoming truly invisible. But how do you vanish from the internet?

Bradley Shear, a lawyer who specialises in social media and privacy, warned that it wouldn’t be easy. He said if you really want to step away from the internet and leave no digital trace, it would mean giving up using all electronic devices.

“[To go the full off-grid route] it’s cash, barters,” Bradley said. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”

Social media backlog

Bradley suggests deleting your social media accounts, or at least cleaning them up. Social media accounts, more or less, ensure you actively participate in letting the internet learn more about you; Facebook, in particular, is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the web – even when you aren’t actively using it. The site stores your search information to suggest particular webpages, news of interest and advertisements.

“You have to think about the digital accounts you currently have,” Bradley said. “You have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, old Myspace? Anything that has your name on it. You want to either delete content from them or delete the accounts altogether.”

Although when you delete your accounts many of the companies will still keep the data you previously gave them, at least it won’t be publicly shared.

Bradley pointed out that Gmail in particular has to go – and you can’t use Google or Yahoo, because these programs all track your access location.

“Every time you access [Gmail], they have your IP address,” he said.

If you want to make sure your activity isn’t tracked across the web, Bradley said to use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the internet, unless you only login from public machines (such as those at a public library or internet café). To search, Bradley suggests using sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of the traditional engines that track you.

If all that sounds too painful to deal with, at the very least consider deleting unnecessary content from your social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook let you download an archive of your data on the platform, in case you’re worried about losing any of those utterly amazing early tweets. And beyond the in-account settings for each service, third-party tools such as TweetDelete allow you to erase years of content automatically. But even that, Bradley said, doesn’t provide perfect results – the government probably already has your tweets on file.

“Using a service that deletes old tweets is helpful,” he said. “However, the Library of Congress is cataloguing every single tweet ever.”

JustDelete.Me provides a good starting point for people who want straightforward links to the deletion pages of a ton of accounts, along with a bit of guidance on how easy or hard it is to delete each one.

Misinformation

For those who can’t stand to go completely off the grid – which is probably most of us – Bradley said one of the most valuable things to do is litter the internet with misinformation about yourself.

“Never have a real birthday,” he said. “Always use a throwaway birthday when signing up for social media accounts or pretty much any other service online. Use a throwaway email. If a site or an app is asking for a bunch of information that you think it doesn’t need from you to provide you with whatever service it is promising, don’t do it. If that personal information is required to use that service, then make up some stuff. You want to provide as many alternative facts as possible.”

Of course, most of us will have already provided a lot of the information to a bunch of sites – so try to change it. On many sites, you can change your birthday, your likes and dislikes, past employment experiences, place of residence and other personal details, although some have a limit on how many times you can alter information (like Facebook).

Bradley said he knows that he’s essentially advising people to ignore the terms of service for these sites, and he’s okay with that.

“Feel free to protect your privacy and violate their terms of service,” he said.

Data leaks

Anyone who’s ever self-Googled knows that there are a ton of “people search” sites out there that promise to host valuable information about individuals. Usually, this information – phone numbers, social media profiles, addresses, anything else available from public records or through data collection on the internet – is sold for a fee (but not always). These companies are known as data brokers, businesses that collect information to sell it to other businesses. Bradley warned that trying to fully disappear from their databases is like “whack-a-mole.”

“Look at the first five to 10 pages of your Google results and see who has your name,” Bradley said. Your information will probably be on sites such as Whitepages, Spokeo and Intelius, for example, and each of these sites should have a way to opt out – but Bradley warned that sometimes the opt-out process can be a scam. If the site requires users to verify their identity before opting out by giving more information or providing a government ID, get out of there.

The second part of keeping your information out of the hands of data brokers involves plugging any digital leaks. If you’ve ever signed up for an account by linking it to a Facebook, Google or Twitter account, you have a leak, and should undo it if possible.

The other thing to think about is your phone – and what permissions you have given your apps.
“Most apps ask for way too much information,” Bradley said. “If you want to keep your phone, go ahead and delete every single app you don’t actually need.”

Of course, even doing all of these things won’t completely disappear most of us from the internet – particularly those who are older or have been using it for all our lives so have an extensive digital trail. So, the question becomes: Can you really disappear from the internet?

Bradley said it doesn’t matter if it’s futile or not – it’s important to try as much as you can, and do it properly, as if it’s going to work.

“You might not get perfect results, but it’s always worth the effort to try.”

The post How to Unplug from the Digital World appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

SurvivalRing Radio – 1st Live 3 hour call-in Talk show this Friday

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My good friend and radio show cohost James “Doctor Prepper” Stevens has retired from the Critical Preparedness Resources Talk Radio show as of last Friday. He is moving on to other consulting ventures, but will occasionally drop in to the new show taking moving into his time slot, when he has the time. The last […]

The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping

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The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Listen in player below! In past shows I have talked about the dangers of social media and the internet. This episode I will flip the switch and talk about the benefits of social media in prepping. We often see the dangers of the … Continue reading The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping

The post The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Life changes…as do we. Everyday.

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Last picture before pre-surgery haircut and lifestyle change. The beard is two years old…only one I have ever had. I’m not shaving it off…just trimming it into something other than Bushman. OK with my manliness level, the beard is simply frosting.Advertisements Anyone that can do 8 years of prison administration, managing up to 75 inmates […]

Update, Content, News, and months of podcasts.

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Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here on the blog of SurvivalRing, and I do apologize. Life has been rather full outside the front door, and the moments in front of my computer (normally plural…the laptop is still down with a *Windows 10* infection) have been focused on research, online radio work, and […]

SurvivalRing News … Updates and Trends. New Year, New Everything

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Good evening my friends… I’m going to try to keep this short, because it’s been a very long day of training in Meat World (my day job for the state of Wyoming)…12 hours worth (1st aid, CPR, AED use, policy, procedure, etc…you know, basic in-service prison annual re-certification training)  Even had  a working lunch…which was […]