From private to public

Sign posts with Public and PrivateFacebook has been criticised a lot this week for what many perceived as a privacy breach. Users thought they began noticing ‘private messages’ from 2008 and 2009 appearing on their timelines. Facebook denies these claims and states that the messages are simply wall posts that have a different appearance because they were created with an older version of Facebook without the ability to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ (in Mann, McNeill & Atkin, 2012, para.7).

Despite Facebook’s denial, many users still believe they have found evidence of a breach.

Many people panicked when they realised something they possibly shouldn’t have said can now be seen by anyone who can access their Facebook timelines. This incident begs the question – what happens when private turns public?

How much information does your child put on their social media accounts? It is one thing to teach them not to divulge too much information on a private account, but have you thought about what else would be available if all the privacy settings were to suddenly disappear and leave everything in the public’s eye?

It is a good idea to teach children to think about the information they put onto social media as being completely public. This will ensure they think carefully before they type or upload a photo.

A permanent record

All friends have little arguments between themselves, but what if they moaned about it with someone and it was recorded and played back to the friend in question? How would they feel if that friend was able to hear it? How would they feel if a future employer was able to access their gossipy conversations? How would they feel if their future children knew everything they got up to as teenagers? … “What on earth were you doing in that photo, Dad?”

Social media is like a permanent recording. Everything on the Internet is persistent and while you may think your child’s account may have the strongest privacy settings available, technology is not 100% reliable. Things do go wrong.

Think before you type

A group of seventh grade students was asked to write a list of how they think they should behave online. I think you’ll find the list pretty impressive and I recommend showing it to your kids.

So let’s make sure our kids really know how to talk to each other on social media respectfully and imagine that one day everyone is going to read about it, because you never know, one day maybe they will.

References:

Mann, A, McNeill, S, & Atkin, M,. (2012). Users vow to desert Facebook amid latest scandal. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-04/users-vow-to-desert-facebook-amid-latest-privacy-scandal/4295964

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Google’s Project Glass

Have you seen the latest invention by Google? They call it Project Glass. Have a look at this video for more information and tell us what you think!

This type of technology gets me excited about the future. At first glance it seems to be the equivalent of having a personal assistant to follow you around everywhere. However, what are the consequences of technology like this?

Google already records every move we make on the Internet when we are logged into a Google account; can you just imagine the amount of information we would need to give up to them to use this type of technology?

There is no doubt that the semantic web (or Web 3.0) is coming but what happens when we give all of this information to one company? Granted, they use this information to enable us to take full advantage of their technologies, but what else are they using it for?

As technology moves us quickly into the future, let’s just stop, take a deep breath, and think before jumping in feet first. I am sure I will be one of the people eager to try these when they are released, but not before doing plenty of research on it first. Watch this space for more info when I do manage to get my hands on a pair.

Google? Are you listening? Interested in a guinea pig?

Check this link out for a preview of how they look!

Can you see yourself in a pair of these in the not-too-distant-future? Tell us what you think.

Family HQ

A social network site started up a couple of months ago called Family HQ . It is a private networking site so people cannot be searched; you have to be invited to use it. I like the idea of this and have invited a few of my family members to use it. The trouble I have found is that many people who are very protective of their privacy and won’t sign up to a site like Facebook are still concerned about sites that say they are ‘private’. I have only had two people take up my invitations and therefore have a grand total of three people on my Family HQ site to correspond with. Still, this site has potential. If you can manage to get quite a few family members to join in, it is a great way for family to catch up in ‘private’ no matter where they are.

Online identity issues

The abstract in this blog post by Tama Leaver sent shivers down my spine as I realised that everything I write on the Web about my children is becoming a part of their ‘Online Identity’ without them even knowing. I had briefly considered this issue on a small scale years ago when I would write in forums under a pseudonym. When you’re pregnant you aren’t thinking about the little one as a person yet, and certainly not as a ‘future online identity’. You are too busy thinking about morning sickness and impending labour pains.

I don’t plan to write anything on here that would be potentially embarrassing to them. I try to write these posts as if I were reading them directly to my children, mother, and boss. I figure that way I won’t say anything ‘wrong’ (not that I have anything ‘wrong’ to say anyway 😉 ).

I’d be interested to know how much other people think about what they write about their kids online and how it may affect them when they get older. Imagine a teenager reading about the terrible things they got up to as a child and how their parents would laugh at their embarrassing moments. Their future universities and bosses will be able to see all of this too.

When we write about our kids online, let’s never forget they will be choosing our nursing homes one day!