the educational technology journal

Vol 22|No 2|November 2012
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Saving Face:
Being Smart About Facebook

By John Mikton, ©2012

by John Mikton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

About author

We live in a world where our communication, information , searches, entertainment, creation, and content are done with some form of digital device accessing the internet. Because of this dynamic intricately tied to our personal and professional lives, both online and offline privacy are being transformed. Some of this is within our control and some of it out of our control. This combination generates discomfort if people think about it. Can we do anything about this? Do we need to?

There is nothing like the convenience of digital devices that provide you everything at your finger tips, seamless and 24/7. Google’s integration of mail, documents, sites, video, blogs, maps, online shopping, music storage etc…. is an example how the integration of a digital platform with one user name and password provide users with powerful consumption and creation tools for free! Google is not alone. Other examples? Apple iTunes, iCloud, and its growing selection of products via its own digital devices. Facebook and its growing menu of services and tools all available to you whenever you wish with any device that has an internet connection.

The issue is that the services and companies facilitating seamless connectivity and convenience 24/7 get unlimited access to all your online information. Our online information, habits and behaviors are available to them. This is the hidden cost of using these services, often without our specific consent or knowledge.

The meaning of the word “privacy” has changed. The days of being anonymous, and having no digital footprint, are gone.

It is through an understanding of these new frameworks, tools and environments that we can choreograph our own digital dance steps and have some control over our footprint. I believe that the literacy of online privacy needs to be part of our curriculum and learning for both adults and students. Every school should share the following suggestions with their students.

When socializing or communicating with Facebook here are some resources to support your understanding of the environment, a few tips to ensure for a safe experience, and some links to keep up you up to date on changes and privacy settings. The concept to be aware of is that anything online is not private. So be cautious and thoughtful about what you say, share and post. It will be associated with you
on the internet and you may never be able to get rid of it. Think before you post!

• Have a secure and strong password ( 8 digits use CAPs, numbers, signs (%,#,@) and lower case) change it every 90 days and DO NOT SHARE IT
• A non negotiable: Understand your Facebook privacy settings. Watch these two videos: Everyone - Facebook Privacy Settings 2012 and How to Change Facebook Privacy Settings in 2012 
• Do not post inappropriate pictures of yourself. Do not post personal information, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Remember however private you think Facebook is, it is not!
• For every comment, picture, video or link you post ask whether your grandmother might find this appropriate? Is this something you want to be associated with for the rest of your time on Facebook?
• Be selective with your friends and who you "friend". Ask how well you know this person, Do you want them seeing everything on your Facebook?
• Periodically filter your friends. Go through your friends list and consider unfriending folks you do not communicate with or friends who keep putting inappropriate things on your wall. Remember when you 
unfriend someone they do not get a notice.
• Do not rely on Facebook to safeguard your privacy, you have to do this. Be selective with your friends, be cautious and mindful what you post, and always remember to think about your grandmother.
• Try to set all your status and sharing to "friends only" as much as possible
• Remember when adding third party applications the privacy settings are always different. See this link: Third Party Applications on Facebook
• The official Facebook Privacy Policy: https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/
Which Social Network Should You Use — and When? This is a great info graphic that explains the advantages and disadvantages of different social media platforms.
Facebook 101 — This tutorial was created to get you up to speed on how to create, use, and maintain a Facebook page of your own, including understanding the complex Facebook privacy policies and settings.
Facebook for Parents portal
Facebook for Parents: Answers to the Top 25 Questions
What teachers need to know about Facebook
Every Teacher’s Must-Have Guide To Facebook (a comprehensive guide for educators sharing, explaining and sharing resources on the topic of Facebook and using it
in an educational setting.
• If you are tired of Facebook and want to delete your account here is a good tutorial and link: http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account







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