Privacy, Please? A reflection of digital personal settings and personal safety.

This week I chose to watch the Doc Zone episode titled Sext Up  Kids.  I chose this particular video to watch for a few different reasons:  First – I teach high school, Second – I have teenage boys (17 and 19 – one living at home and one away at school).  While I was watching the video I began reflecting on why I have my social media privacy settings set as I do.  More importantly, why I have set them and why I am so choosy as to I accept as a “friend” on social media.

As a teacher, I make it a rule that I will not accept any Facebook friend requests from my students until they have graduated.  I do this for three reasons:

1.  I do not want to see what my students are doing privately (either inside or outside of school) while I am in an educator role with them.

2.  I do not want to have preconceived ideas of what my students are like as an individual before they come into my classroom as I believe that all students have the right to an unbiased education.

3.  I need to protect myself as an individual – I really do not want my student to know about what I am doing on the weekend (unless I choose to verbally share this with my students), nor do I want them to be able to see what I post as my posts are just that – mine.  And, just like point 2 above, I don’t want my students to have a preconceived idea about me as a person – having a preconceived idea about me as a teacher (she’s tough, or she does wacky things to get our attention, etc… are ok) before they enter my classroom. I also do not want them having my personal information as I have been stalked before by a former students which required police involvement for the safety of me and my family – it (the stalking)  still continues to this day even though I have blocked this student and changed my privacy settings on all social media accounts.

In my room at school, my students must “rest and recharge” their phones during class.  This is done for a variety of reasons – students live in a rural town and many drive – I want them to have a fully charged phone before they leave my class and are on the highways or grids.  Also, when I am instructing, I want their attention.  Quite often I will ask my students to be on their phones researching topics, but when they are not to be on their phones, they must be on the lab benches.  Also, I have never wanted to be accused of allowing a student to send a text, message, etc… that may be harmful to another.

Before I began this class I was very leery of Twitter and Facebook as tools in the classroom – but as of two weeks ago, I now have a school Twitter account and now use Hootsuite.  Originally I did not use Hootsuite – for about one day – until I was seeing what my students were posting that was not related to school, I really do not want to see what they post.  Personally, using Hootsuite has been a way of protecting myself!  What if one of my students posted a sext and I saw it – would I be charged if I did not report that?  No, I did not even want to venture into those waters!  Especially after watching Sext Up Kids.

I researched how many wireless subscribers there are in Canada currently – 29,062,796!  Along with the 29 million wireless subscribers, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association reports that  one in five households only have wireless phone services in their homes – we happen to be one of those households – no land line!  I was a bit surprised that Canadians sent an extraordinary amount of texts per day – 270 Million! But it isn’t just texting that draws us in to communicate wireless with one another.  92% of teenagers go online daily due to the ease of access they have to smartphones.  With Facebook being the most popular form of social media platform being used by teens, 71% of teens use more than one social media platform to communicate with one another.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Top Social Media Platforms for Teens

 

Analyzing the above statistics, I began to research the number of teenagers that sext.  I found the following information from PCs N Dreams:


 

“Here are Some of the Shocking Sexting Statistics:

The percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves:

  • 20% of teenagers overall
  • 22% of teen girls
  • 18% of teen boys
  • 11% of young teen girls ages 13-16

The percent of teenagers sending or posting sexually suggestive messages:

  • 39% of all teenagers
  • 37% of teen girls
  • 40% of teen boys”


 

Venture Academy‘s research found the same as the Doc Zone episode, teens find that sexting is simply  fun and flirtatious,  but our students do not really realize that once they have hit the “send” button, they can not undo the sext – it can follow them around forever and may even impact them for future careers.  

I invite you to watch the following video about parents whom went to the authorities when they found out that their child was sexting – would you do the same and do you agree with the panel?

Now, with everything that I have researched, I must go and look over my privacy settings again to ensure I have the tightest security possible!

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