“Hey! That’s Private!” Social Media and our Privacy: It’s our responsibility?

My mother constantly gives me excuses as to why she won’t use Facebook, which is funny because she has an account. One of those excuses is the lack of privacy, she doesn’t want her life made available for everyone to see. I empathize with her situation, of course, she is my mother after all. But I feel like this excuse is used by many people. They say, why would I want my life to be put in a space made available to the public? My answer, now that I think about it, would go something like this: social media is your life, it is an extension of your reality. At least that is the direction we’re going with the online world. It is a place that allows its users to be who they want to be, and different platforms offer different things.

Facebook features great options for privacy control, you can even make your profile undiscoverable by outsiders in the digital world if you really want to be that invisible online. For my own Facebook I have my settings set so that only my friends can see my posts, but sometimes friends of friends will as well. To me that is okay, I want people who know me as an acquaintance or as a friend to be able to find me on my Facebook so that we can stay in touch.

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On the other hand, Instagram is completely different, you have the ability to privatize your account forcing people to go through an acceptance process, or you can be wide open leaving your photography to be discovered by anybody. That’s the beauty of the internet, it can be private and it can also be open. It’s really up to you to manage it according to your interests.

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As adults, though, we have more control over our digital lives and we are responsible for ourselves. The real issue lies with children because they may not fully understand the idea of privacy. However, according to a study by MediaSmarts called “Young Canadians in a Wired World” written about in an article by Nicole Bogart of Global News, “While 82 per cent of young web users reported learning about privacy settings, 65 per cent of those users had never had a privacy policy or terms of use agreement explained to them.” This means that many children haven’t had privacy, and the extent which companies have over their information, explained to them properly. The article continues to highlight that, “Thirty-two per cent of students in Grades 4 to 6 have a Facebook account and 16 per cent have a Twitter account – many of which post to the sites at least once a week.” So this begs the question, should online responsibility be a topic that is taught to future generations within primary-school classrooms? I believe it’s important to educate the kids about these issues, I would have liked to know these things when I first started using Facebook, it would have saved me from a lot of embarrassing posts. Being responsible online is the first step to being secure.

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But, where is the limit of our responsibility and when does social media become responsible for its “users” safety?

Source:

Article by Nicole Bogart: http://globalnews.ca/news/1159724/young-canadians-lack-understanding-of-online-privacy-study/

Photos provided by Google.

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2 thoughts on ““Hey! That’s Private!” Social Media and our Privacy: It’s our responsibility?

  1. I like the suggestion of incorporating a teaching model in schools built around explaining privacy in relation to social media. I think it is important in this day and age that users are taught effectively on how to control their privacy settings for multiple apps, because many users are unaware to the extent on how much the public can see and access certain posts etc. With this knowledge in hand, maybe we would not see so many privacy violations etc. on social media apps, and this could encourage more people to engage on these online forums.

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  2. It can sometimes be too late to learn about privacy because social media sites already have loads of your information. Teaching kids about online privacy in school is a great idea. I just learned about online privacy and what sites have access to last month.

    Like

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