The digital age has given us more opportunities to share ourselves with the world. Nowadays, our thoughts, feelings and opinions can be broadcasted in a moment’s notice. Ever since we were children, we’ve had the phrase “sharing is caring” drilled into us. But in an age where exposure is cherished, are we losing sight of the value of our personal lives?

The personas we put online are called our “digital selves.” Being able to interact with and learn from people from all over the globe through the wonders of the Internet is a valuable tool. Our reputation in real life is directly tied to our online persona. Many people post pictures, videos and stories that reaffirm how they see themselves. This stems from a very human desire to want a sense of belonging and to relate with others. Having these strong social bonds is important a fruitful life. However, when we engage in the need to continually seek approval through our posts, then we can landslide into misguided oversharing.

People may point out that intention is what sets apart sharing from oversharing. A picture of yourself travelling to a cool destination spot can give insight to your friends and family, but it also can reveal your location to predators. How do we differentiate? It’s about who we knowingly share with.

The question we should ask ourselves is beyond safety concerns, why are our private lives so valuable? Why should we behave cautiously when deciding what we choose to share and not to share? One important reason is that people will always judge you based on what you post no matter what. Even if you intend to send a specific message with a post, some of these signals can be misinterpreted. You may share the most well intended post, but it can be misconstrued. Seeking acceptance through what you post is a slippery slope.

The reassuring fact is that many social media outlets give users the option to keep their accounts private. This way you can build for yourself first and share with whom you choose to. The value of your free choice in concerns to what you post is very important. When it comes to expressing yourself, make sure you find the right balance between showing and keeping.