The Matter of Privacy
The materials provided for this theme have ignited my desire to look deeper into the way I personally generate and protect my personal data and my students’ data. According to The Economist, May 2017, ” data is the most valuable resource in the world” and we all need to consider carefully what we share and where; what data we generate and collect and whether it is relevant, accurate and up to date; whether it is processed lawfully and handled securely. Awareness of data protection regulations brings actions. I was shocked to find some statistics about the companies ( providing educational and learning tools) admitting to interest-based and third party advertising: about 38% of Edu Tech we use in schools indicated that they may use the students’ data and about 50% of Web-Based services may allow children’s personal data to be visible ( Common Sense Media group survey). That is mind-blowing! As teachers, we are responsible for choosing the right digital platforms to use or tools to introduce, for raising our students’ awareness about data protection, and making them advocates for stronger data protection.
My school has developed and it uses its own Digital Citizenship/ Acceptable Use Policy below. It is not simply a document on file, it is an active doc, always discussed and referred to, revisited, and reviewed often by admin, teachers, families, and kids. Each point of the pledge is introduced within lessons and reflected upon during the technology lessons or the lessons with integrated technology.
Whether we like it or not, accept it or deny it, technology is a big part of life for most kids; and despite the age restrictions and rules at schools and at home, more and more children are logging on to social media platforms. I believe that just strict rules and restrictions are not enough, conscious and well-informed behavior online is something we, as teachers and parents should aim at modeling and teaching. Conversations about privacy and cyber safety should be open, regular, and age-appropriate. Lessons on sharing content ( digital footprint) and online etiquette, privacy policies and managing passwords, appropriate use of technology, and online collaboration are integrated into our curriculum; ongoing IT support of passionate Technology coaches and training are available for classroom practitioners; Privacy awareness day, an opportunity to reflect on how we share and manage data, is an annual event.
The digital citizenship interactive lessons on Common Sense Media for all grade levels address various topics, including Media Balance, Privacy and Security, Digital Footprint and Identity, and prepare students to take ownership of their digital lives. Common Sense media
Contrary to the popular belief, kids do care about their privacy, they just need support and guidance from the adults they trust to help them make conscious good decisions and stay safe.
Do as you preach they say; and I must say I take my data protection, my online safety seriously. Internet is the center of our lives with almost all areas of our lives connected to the web, and it is vital to consider privacy protection. We all know that cybercriminals are getting craftier by the day and look for opportunities to exploit your online activities in many different ways, so sharing limited information, using the incognito or private mode, and utilizing anonymous search engines, using ” think before you click” strategy and powerful antivirus are my tools. Following all the mentioned above, I feel quite safe and able to protect my students by giving them a great example.
Being yourself online, is it important? What does being yourself mean in the digital era and in the virtual environments? Through our posts, we all present a version of ourselves to our online communities, often keeping some details and facts private ( for reasons of privacy concerns and sometimes to fit in or to create an image of self that is appealing to that particular group or community). Developing authenticity isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to privacy issues and concerns, it requires balance: honesty to be authentic enough but also acceptance and understanding of others while keeping your data and your privacy. We make personal choices on how we want the world to see and perceive us
Online authenticity is a complex thing, it is composed of a sense of real me and expression of real me, and it is greatly influenced by the users’ need for popularity and craving validation online. Fake communications, getting likes, or comments don’t really make a person more likable or more authentic. To be authentic and to show true thoughts means to understand yourself and to be thoughtful and deliberate. Everything shared can make an impact, sometimes an impact you don’t expect.
Authenticity isn’t just binary, there are many options in between. “This is the digital world, my friends, and you are complicit in its construction. Authenticity is but a hashtag on a post about a meme.” as Kerri Sackville notes in her article “Authenticity online is overrated”
Balance is the answer: be yourself – care, create and share responsibly and freely with the intended audience, differentiate the purpose of your posts and the communities to where you contribute to.