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Right now, my soul is divided. For I am both a man of a generation where children were spanked and people believed in their privacy. Things as critical as keeping your children in check and your mouth closed about your private life with a spouse, girlfriend or partner have all been compromised.

Which begs the question…have we gone too far? Privacy in 2014 is an idea of recollection, not habit. In a matter of weeks, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was deactivated indefinitely by Minnesota Vikings and a host of female celebrities including Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good and Jill Scott have had private, explicit pictures exposed. That’s the world we live in today.

The right to privacy is on life support. Our homes and our relationships, are supposed to be considered sequestered places of comfort – our defense against the world and its challenges. Yet, when you make your first cellphone call of the day, your service provider knows who you called and for how long. Your phone echoes against a tower somewhere so that somebody can tell almost exactly where you are. When you leave home, surveillance cameras follow you everywhere.

And while this may be cool in search-and-rescue situations, it’s not so cool when companies like Retina X Studios can sell software that lets anybody spy on your location and message traffic. Needless to say, if you’ve had an iPhone, Windows Phone or Android device in the past 3 years, your phone contacts and photos have likely been saved in the cloud.

We have to take a look at ourselves and our ridiculous addiction to technology and the invasiveness that it brings. If you were to look back say some 20, 30 years, is it likely that any of your private information would be so easily accessible? Most likely not. Would it be likely that someone other than yourself could easily access it? Almost certainly not. Did you survive just fine? Sure you did.

Get this, a recent survey commissioned by the employment website CareerBuilder, found that 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants, with over 65 percent of that group using Facebook as their principal means of information. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty invasive. Don’t you think?

That means you get to see pictures of my children, my friends, my parents and even my relationship status. How do you know I want you knowing that much about me? My work history is all you should need to know. Unless of course, I committed a few crimes along the way.

At one time, even your place of employment was considered a sanctuary of privacy. But now, ‘Big Brother is watching you’ as  George Orwell wrote in his disturbing book 1984 years before much of this technology was invented.

With all that is taking place today, Orwell looks like an idealistic romantic. I suspect that Orwell never could have imagined the intensity in which our lives have become invaded.Orwell could not have foreseen that companies or individuals would or could read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.

In the final analysis, the world we live in today is not going away. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, which skills you have, where you are born, or which family you came from. What will count is how you manage yourself accordingly from here on out.

The great African-American businessman and philanthropist, W. Clement Stone once said: “Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” If you don’t want to be known as a womanizer, then don’t womanize. If you don’t want to be known as a child abuser, then don’t commit child abuse and check yourself accordingly when dealing with your child.

If you don’t want to be known as an abuser of woman, then don’t hit women. If you’ve had too much to drink, take a cab. And if you don’t want your personal business all over the street, then think before make a decision that could come back to haunt you or your integrity in the future, when you’re looking for that all too important opportunity. It’s just that simple.

Zack Burgess is an award-winning journalist, who is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a Writer, Editor and Communications Specialist. Twitter: @zackburgess1

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