The reality of privacy online is that there is very little, if at all. In the local newspaper in my state of Connecticut, there was a story about a high school which decided to do a presentation on the availability of information about students through the Internet. The presenter went through and found information about the students in the audience. As the presentation was unfolding he showed images and other items found. The students reacted negatively. They were angry and felt that their privacy had been invaded. Interesting? Was it actually invaded? All of the items shown were already available online. Images found via Google, comments made via Twitter and even Facebook were freely accessible. The presenters I am sure were quite aware that they would get a reaction and did. The students, however, were completely appalled that the school would approach the topic in this way. Yet, the overall reaction from the community is positive as it seems that the only way to grab students’ attention to these issues is to publicly make a point. Was it effective? Yes, and the discussion and rumblings around the school was about how easy it was to access information.
The idea of privacy seems to be ridiculous to teens, but it isn’t. Teens are under the misguided impression that their discussions and images won’t be used against them so they tend to not consider the ramifications or the possibilities of the opposite which was evident in the case of this particular school in Connecticut. While some may think what was done could be considered unethical, the idea was to teach a lesson that needed to be learned. In today’s age, it seems that shock value is most effective and that is what evidently worked here. However, conversations about privacy need to start much earlier, at all academic levels, and even with parents or guardians.
The lines have become blurred between private and public spaces, but the reality of that distinction is just beginning to settle in especially for teens.
For more information about the new article click below:
Old Saybrook High School makes privacy point; Some perturbed when real students shown in social-media slide show
And for additional information about protecting and managing your reputation visit: http://knowwheretheygo.org/asca. This website includes resources for students of all ages.