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Almost everything I read this week had something to do with Facebook and how more and more of your information is shared online. Here’s the thing, I know lots of people who have been quite private about their use of Facebook and limit as much as possible on their page. However, I’ve always been quite the opposite and the thought of a perfect stranger finding my photo online doesn’t bother me all that much.

I think that I’ve been careful to a certain degree. I have some privacy set up for my photos and I actually almost never accept invitations to games or apps attached to facebook. I’ve never seen the point in that. What I do agree with however, is that facebook seems to always be updating the way privacy is set up on the site that it’s a little hard to keep up.

So…should I be more afraid?

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Sure, I’ve googled myself to see what turns up and so far, I’m ok with what I see in the results. Most of it relates to my work and professional life, my Twitter account is used soley for professional development, and any profile photos that show up from my various accounts (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc.) I am fine with because obviously, I chose those photos as precisely that, “profile photos”. I believe a profile photo’s main purpose is to be seen.

Don’t get me wrong, looking back there are definitely some profile photos I looked at and thought “what was I thinking????” I’ve even had someone open a Multipy account pretending to be me. That person had my photo, added people who knew me and even replied to my friend’s messages with accurate private information such as the name of my boyfriend at the time. When I found the account I promptly reported it with evidence that I was the real Pana Asavavatana, and mass messaged my friends telling them it wasn’t me. Many wrote back surprised because when they tried to contact me through Mulitply, and this person had done a good job writing back as though s/he was me. Pretty scary at the time, but the profile got taken down quite promptly and I haven’t had the same problem since. I’m still online…doing my thing and I do often wonder if I’m too relaxed about it all?

So is this where schools get it from?

After reading a few articles, I began to feel like there was a trend, the same trend that so many schools use on kids: scare tactics. Many are written subtly but they still make you ask yourself key questions about your online life. I suppose reflection is a good thing, but there are more articles out there that come off with a tone of sending a warning or a message of caution toward have an online profile and what you do with it.

This made me wonder, if the media is scaring us as adults so that we are more aware of our online presence, wouldn’t it then be natural for us to turn around and use the same techniques on our students? Perhaps this why many schools talk about the threats in the online world in an attempt to “protect” their students first and foremost, after all it’s what we’re used to.

Just be responsible!

We’re all here at COETAIL because we believe that the internet, comptuers and technology are going to be a big part of the future that our students will one day live in. I also know that through this second course we have a goal of teaching our students digitial citizenship and responsibility. So, in the end, I’m still not that worried about my online presence. I think I’ve made responsible choices and there’s nothing I can see online that I can’t live with. On top of all that, I LIKE having a digital footprint. I’ve been connected to many people who continue to build my professional network.

As for all of those ways that we share information to strangers without even knowing it. Well, my perspective is, if you’ve chosen to live with the internet, you might as well embrace the ways in which it works. Yep, your info will probably be used to target ads at you at some point and you won’t know how they knew. In fact, I had my phone on airplane mode over my recent spring break, but I openned up google maps and that little blue dot still knew my exact location. So, really, my opinion is, accept it, make choices you’re comfortable with and just get on with life…because being online is a part of life now too!