Social Medias are becoming utterly popular since the mid-2000s starting with websites such as MySpace and Yahoo! before migrating slowly to Twitter and Facebook. Those websites allow normal people such as you and I to post their opinions and feelings online for everyone to look at. Many people, usually teens, consider these websites as being safe for them to post personal information, innocently thinking that only their friends can consult and look their status up. It is however no secret for everyone that these personal information are often consulted by stranger. Any information on these websites is filtered, mined and stocked on mass servers. These information, saved on those websites, are available by everyone including employers, any professional contacts of yours and even the websites administrators to look at. It is therefore important for every person of every age to filter carefully the posted information on their personal page.
Considering social networks, many scary stories can be related to the subject. Some of the most popular horror histories for every parent could have been seen on NBC network from 2004 to 2006. The TV show: To Catch a Predator with Chris Hansen set stings along with the police of seven different states in the USA. These stings were organized along with the help of a group called Perverted Justice in order to catch internet predators that prey on children ranging from the age of 12 to 15. The plan was simple：a young looking decoy, really an employee of perverted justice aged from 18 to 22, posed as children of 12, 13, 14 or 15 year-old and set up a profile on different social networks awaiting for men to initiate a discussion. In order to avoid entrapment accusation, the decoy categorically avoids initiating contact with any men. Soon, enough men show up in personal messages and after few minutes of conversation, the discussion turns quickly sexual. After weeks and even months of conversation, the decoy eventually arrange a meeting in person with the stranger usually asking him to bring particular item in order to prove their intention to bribe a child for sexual favors. When the predator eventually shows up, he is met by Chris Hansen instead of a child willing to have sex. After a quick interview, the suspects are usually free to leave before being arrested by the police and prosecuted in a court of law. These disturbing stings reveal how unsafe social networks are and how important information filtering for children is.
As much as filtering information for our children is important, filtering personal information even for adult is as equally relevant. it is even more important when you have a professional career going on. Many stories, such as the story of the teacher in South Whales, England that posted personal information about her sex life and lost her job can be seen all over the world wide web. This teacher was actually sharing her private information with her private groups in Facebook but the information was later leaked to her employees. Here is the link to this particular story
Of course these stories seem pretty far from our reality. The typical internet user is too often caught in a state of mind where they think they can control the information posted. But in reality, with the current technology, everything we do or say is monitored and can be accessed by millions of people in a single click. This is why you, as a teacher, must be careful of your online activities. The little story above about the teacher sharing personal information is a little reminder of what online carelessness could bring to a career. Nevertheless, it is also important to be aware of teenagers online activities since the teacher’s role is to guide children and teens to knowledge, but also to keep them safe from harm of any kind. Sensibilisation to dangerous online acitivities such as the show “To Catch A Predator” is always a good tool for a teacher.
Here is a little list of safety precaution to take when it come to posting information online.