16 Apr
Inappropriate Tweet

A Need to Educate Students on E-Safety

The “Internet [has] transformed typical adolescent behavior – cliquish snubs, macho boasts, sexual flirtations, claims about drinking and drugs – into something not only public, but also permanent” stated a recent New York Times article Teaching About Web Includes Troublesome Parts by Stephanie Clifford. Educating the up-and-coming workforce, along with the Mellennials, on responsible uses of the Internet is essential. While some schools, companies and even countries attempt to ban the use of social media, the action results in unprepared students, unproductive employees and potentially unsound citizens. “Restricting access to information is fighting the force of a global movement towards greater participation” (Greg Ferenstein).

Instead, learning establishments should readdress their curriculum on e-safety. First and foremost, with technology becoming easier to use (even for toddlers), there is an imminent need to promote proper procedures for coping with online abuse, stalking, cyber-bullying and unwanted wall posts, messages and chats. Facebook has recently made a significant attempt to provide parents, teens, teachers, law-enforcement and professionals a Safety-Center as a learning resource. However, as Kevin Jenkins recently experienced, protecting students from cyber-bullying is only part of the difficulty. Giving fourth-graders in Malpitas, California access to online communication tools, they immediately began to post surveys inquiring as to “Who’s the most popular classmate?” and “Who is best-liked?”

Furthermore, employment-seekers, myself included, while highly informed on current social media and networking trends, must better understand their overarching digital footprint and its influence on their chances of being hired. While growing up, my father would continuously remind me of The Wall Street Journal Test. To this day, I still envision how I would feel if my possible action – whether it is a simple speeding ticket or a mischievous night out in New York City – was published on the front page of the paper (my name and picture included). In a recent post by Jeremiah Owyang, he summarizes my point nicely:

“So before you post that blog lambasting another blogger, or somewhat questionable photos in Facebook, or talking about recovering from your hangover on Twitter, remember that hiring managers are analyzing how a candidate will represent their brand.”

To this point, here is a recent tweet I happened to come across:

Inappropriate Tweet

Unfortunately, using a computer in the privacy of one’s home creates a sense of security and privacy. In reality, online activity is quite public and permanent. The line between public and private used to be clear, became blurred, and is now non-existent.


  • Keith,
    Liked the post. I think the real issue behind many social networking privacy issues is the glorification of drugs and alcohol. You don’t have to look far on social sites like textsfromlastnight.com to find people reveling in their own unbridled substance abuse. Part of the magic of online social communities (like facebook) is that you have total control over what content is posted – you can be whoever you want to be. I think the real issue is not figuring out how to shield certain people from seeing your online profile – it’s that given a choice, in online communities, people choose to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics.

  • Keith,
    Liked the post. I think the real issue behind many social networking privacy issues is the glorification of drugs and alcohol. You don’t have to look far on social sites like textsfromlastnight.com to find people reveling in their own unbridled substance abuse. Part of the magic of online social communities (like facebook) is that you have total control over what content is posted – you can be whoever you want to be. I think the real issue is not figuring out how to shield certain people from seeing your online profile – it’s that given a choice, in online communities, people choose to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics.

  • Keith,
    Liked the post. I think the real issue behind many social networking privacy issues is the glorification of drugs and alcohol. You don’t have to look far on social sites like textsfromlastnight.com to find people reveling in their own unbridled substance abuse. Part of the magic of online social communities (like facebook) is that you have total control over what content is posted – you can be whoever you want to be. I think the real issue is not figuring out how to shield certain people from seeing your online profile – it’s that given a choice, in online communities, people choose to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics.

  • Andrew –

    I appreciate your response and look forward to your visit to Skidmore next week. You bring up a great point, individuals engaged in online communities make a conscious decision to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics by consciously disregarding the available privacy settings. In writing this post, and sharing it with my peers and followers, I was hoping to bring awareness to the issue and perhaps motivate at least one, if not more, of my fellow graduates to become mindful of the impact their various online profiles may have on their futures.

    However, as a very cautious participant in numerous online outlets, I know from experience that while one may be aware of their own posts and involvement on the Internet, it is impossible to control third party mentions and tags (i.e. a friends Facebook Album). Furthermore, once information is linked to one’s profile, even after “detagging” and deleting the message, image or video, the vulgar, obscene and/or inappropriate data will forever be associated with his/her name. That is why an individuals actions in the physical world should align with his or her online presence.

    The internet is no longer a place for anonymity.

  • Andrew –

    I appreciate your response and look forward to your visit to Skidmore next week. You bring up a great point, individuals engaged in online communities make a conscious decision to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics by consciously disregarding the available privacy settings. In writing this post, and sharing it with my peers and followers, I was hoping to bring awareness to the issue and perhaps motivate at least one, if not more, of my fellow graduates to become mindful of the impact their various online profiles may have on their futures.

    However, as a very cautious participant in numerous online outlets, I know from experience that while one may be aware of their own posts and involvement on the Internet, it is impossible to control third party mentions and tags (i.e. a friends Facebook Album). Furthermore, once information is linked to one’s profile, even after “detagging” and deleting the message, image or video, the vulgar, obscene and/or inappropriate data will forever be associated with his/her name. That is why an individuals actions in the physical world should align with his or her online presence.

    The internet is no longer a place for anonymity.

  • Andrew –

    I appreciate your response and look forward to your visit to Skidmore next week. You bring up a great point, individuals engaged in online communities make a conscious decision to present themselves as drug addicts and alcoholics by consciously disregarding the available privacy settings. In writing this post, and sharing it with my peers and followers, I was hoping to bring awareness to the issue and perhaps motivate at least one, if not more, of my fellow graduates to become mindful of the impact their various online profiles may have on their futures.

    However, as a very cautious participant in numerous online outlets, I know from experience that while one may be aware of their own posts and involvement on the Internet, it is impossible to control third party mentions and tags (i.e. a friends Facebook Album). Furthermore, once information is linked to one’s profile, even after “detagging” and deleting the message, image or video, the vulgar, obscene and/or inappropriate data will forever be associated with his/her name. That is why an individuals actions in the physical world should align with his or her online presence.

    The internet is no longer a place for anonymity.

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