Thursday, 19 May 2016

Parent Alert

Many students are using online social media to stay connected. There are safety concerns that may arise as a result of using these platforms. Very popular with tweens is Instagram. Unfortunately, users are not always familiar with the dangers of sharing information online. 

Many grades 5, 6, and 7s have one of these accounts. I have found several users at our school (and whom I teach) who reveal personal and identifying information in their profile. Some concerns include:
  • Having a profile which is set to PUBLIC - it is viewable by anyone
  • Using your name instead of a non-identifying nickname
  • Using a photo of yourself as the main profile picture
  • Including photos of friends with or without their knowledge
  • Tagging photos with identifying information eg. #kamloops, #TCC, #SouthSahali etc. (These are searchable)
  • Allowing users to "follow" your account when you do not know them personally (in the real world)
  • "Following" users who you don't know
  • "Following" users you DO know BUT they reveal personal information on their profile or it is not set to PRIVATE
User names and many tags and comments are searchable. It is not difficult for a technology savvy person to deduce where a user lives, age, gender, social group, and even their real name by looking at who a user "follows". Even if their profile is PRIVATE. Who a user follows is always publicly available. 

There is a very dangerous amount of information being shared online by these children. Please visit this site to learn how to change settings of many social media accounts to protect your privacy and that of others:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Thank you,
Mme McLean

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