Husna Nejand’s, Beware: the Internet could own your future, reminds of us the privacy dangers that come along with the use of social networking sites like Facebook. I personally try to hold back what I can from the general public and keep as much as I can private. On facebook, I am only “friends” with people who are actually my friends in real life and these are the only people that can access my photos, wall, etc. This makes me feel more protected, but does not stop some of the situations, especially about photos, that Nejand shares in this article. I can stop people from tagging me in a photo, which I do often, but I can’t prevent all pictures of me from being on the internet. How many pictures of me are out there that I don’t even know about? I would guess hundreds. This can not be prevented. A person could have no active presence on the internet and that would not stop pictures of them from being on the web. Friends post photos with you in them. Strangers post pictures with you in the background. We can only control our own posting and try to influence the posting of pictures we know about.
There are many complaints about the privacy policies of social networking and other sites. I debate with myself about these concerns. What responsibility do these companies have to protect our privacy? As consumers, we opt into these sites. If we don’t like the privacy policies, we can choose not to participate. I think many people would give up an enormous amount of privacy to keep access to these sites, but should they have to?
How do we best teach students about issues of privacy online?
We need to start with very young students to talk about privacy in general. We can make parallels between “real life” and life on the internet to help students understand the need for privacy online. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I think it’s important to help students understand the permanency of images on the internet and the consequences of posting pictures.