I have a personal blog. In this blog I often post pictures of friends without their consent. Some of them might never know that these images were posted online. I guess this puts me on the liberal side of the online privacy line. The problem for the people on the other side of the line, and perhaps me, is that the line is moving.
This article from The Rebel Yell was written in 2009, and already some of the wonderings from the article are begging to show up today. The author wonders, for instance, what we will do when companies start changing user agreement. Sound familiar?
I suppose this is what happens when every phone is a camera and every picture you take is instantly uploaded, like with Instagram, Google+, Hipstamatic, not to mention taking the time to post it to Twitter or Facebook. We want privacy, but we also want to share our lives.
This becomes more true as families spread further across the globe. For expats, online sharing is incredibly important for maintaining relationships. But this shouldn’t mean that we have to share everything with everybody.
That is why social sites are getting smarter. Google+ has circles that allows you to choose who you share with. And even cooler, you can make it to where people you share it with cannot share further. This eliminates some of the problems that occur when you are friends with someone online who is friends with someone else who you might not want to have access to your pictures.
Managing what you put out there is the easy part. The more difficult piece comes when you have to be concerned about what others are putting out about you. And that is where education comes in.
As the world changes, we have to adapt to those changes. We have to be aware of our actions when we are in public places. We also have to educate our students about how to navigate the waters of online privacy. We are not going backwards. Kids, and adults and me for that matter, are not going to give up their phones, their online connections, their social networks. We just have to prepare them how to share what with who, a lesson my parents and teachers taught me long ago. The wisdom is the same, the application is what is changing.