Monthly Archives: April 2013

Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 3 – Privacy

In part one and two of Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids I talked a lot about what not to post in terms of respect of self and others, consequences and boundaries.  In this post I want to talk about privacy and safety in social media.  It’s always fun to share where you’ve been but not always safe to share where you are going with a broad public.  Lead by example and share with your kids these tips for protecting their privacy online.

Location, Location, Location.

Automatic Advertisement

Did you know there is a setting on your iPhone that allows the phone to access GPS and broadcast your location on social networks?  I was on my Facebook account one day and the map there announced the 4 locations I had been at.  I won’t lie. It creeped me out.  I made a point of getting to know the broadcast settings on my phone much better after that.  My social networks no longer have permission to broadcast to my contacts where I am and where I have been.  I reserve the right to do it manually at a time of my choosing and most certainly I reserve the right to not share my every move.   I reserve my right to privacy.  Providing such information does nothing for me and serves as nothing more than digital noise for most of my contacts.  The only purpose it serves is advertising for the places I visit.  Lead by example and be in control of what information is broadcast to your contacts.

Manual Mischief

Disabling the automatic broadcast of your location simply puts the control back in your hands as to what information you share.  It is a responsibility, because you can actually give away too much information manually than your mobile device would automatically.

If you are going out for an evening, on vacation or anywhere for an extended period of time, keep it to yourself until you get back.  Advertising where you are going and how long you will be away is opening the door to trouble.  It first lets people know that your home is unprotected and an easier target for being robbed. Second, if others know your children will be home alone during that time, either by something you posted or something your kids posted, it invites an opportunity for them to be taken advantage of in ways ranging from friends trying to orchestrate an unsupervised gathering to something more serious.

The Devil is In the Detail

The details of our comings and goings in life seem benign enough to share.  To someone with an agenda that digital noise can be mapped into a routine to gain easy access to someone or provide enough detail for someone to act the part of knowing friend.  Just because someone knows a lot about us does not mean they are trustworthy.  Social media makes it easy to “collect” people, contacts, and information and to be “collected”.  You can reveal too much of yourself very quickly and when your social media interactions meet you on the street or at the front door in real life it can be very difficult to establish boundaries of privacy that were so easily broken in the digital world.

Be My Friend

We all have different reasons for signing up for a social network.  Some are to stay connected with former classmates, others for business and others just to share different interests.  The contacts we collect in all these instances are not close friends.  They follow us for specific reasons and we want them to follow us for specific reasons.  Social media makes it easy to forget ourselves and share things with contacts when we would not dream of physically letting them into other areas of our lives. We simply do not compartmentalize people online the way we do in real life.  If we can’t do it, how do we expect kids to?

Facebook and Google have ways of allowing a person to compartmentalize contacts to some degree.  While a business or fan page on Facebook can be followed by anyone without having a request accepted, you can strictly limit your personal page to just your friends.  If you or your kids are running a public fan page on social media keep it strictly business.  No personal contact information or personal details. On their private pages they should limit their details to just an email address.  Kids under 18 have no real reason to post the school they go to and where they work. No one, of any age should make their address and phone number public on social media.

Accept friend requests judiciously. If you are using social media for business purposes you probably have a blog, fan page or Twitter account that is open to the public for just that purpose. Your followers do not need to be a part of your private page as well.  Young kids should be particularly careful who they accept friend requests from. If they do not know the person, even if the request is from another kid, don’t accept the request. Many sexual predators gain access to their victims because they pretended to be a kid themselves.  Kids should learn to question things now.  How does this person know me?  Why does this person want to connect with me?  Why would I want to connect with them? These are the same questions and rules that apply in face-to-face interactions.

Parents and kids should have direct conversations about who in their broad social spectrum is truly a close entrusted friend.  From that will hopefully come conversations about how to create boundaries with others in a social network and in life and how deal with others who try to cross those boundaries.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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‘Vine’ – What is it and How Should I Use it?

‘Vine’ – What is it and How Should I Use it?.

An interesting article by Salterent about an up and coming app that, at the very least, can keep a brand, person business or idea in front of people’s faces in between major PR efforts.

To really make the most of Vine, I believe it will take some prior planning to make a compelling 6 seconds.  The Dove clip was a cool visual but it needed sound.

Nonetheless, 6 seconds is a lot of time in video and has the potential of making an impact.

Thanks for sharing with us Salterent!

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 2

In part one I talked about how to guide your kids to a place of respect for self and others when using social media.  Since it is so easy to acquire contacts and post everything and anything that comes to mind it is very easy to offend and do harm without realizing it.  Parents, this is as true for you as it is for your kids.  Respect for self and others starts at home. It starts with remembering what it was to be a kid and the social order of things; what was cool to share and what damned you if it ever became public.

Private vs Public Self

We all have our public selves and private selves (yup, the psychology major in me emerges).  The public self is how we want people to see us.  The private self is the unguarded public self, a more relaxed version of ourselves that can explore and revel in our various interests and idiosyncrasies that we guard in public for fear they may not be accepted in broader society.

As adults we have learned, hopefully, how to enter into a broader conversation of mixed company, both in person and online, without offending anyone.  We have also learned, hopefully, how to appropriately respond to or ignore some of the communication that comes back at us as a result of what we choose to share.  We learned the subtle differences between being offensive and being accepted and how to make amends when we offend and how to stand our ground for the right to simply be ourselves.  We did not get there over night.

It was a constant process of trial and error in allowing little pieces of our private selves out in public, testing the reaction and determining what is truly unacceptable and what others simply need to get over.  This is how we became who we are.  Truth be told, it is an ongoing process even in adulthood, but most of the process is somewhat second nature to us now and, for the most part, we can let the little failures of the great experiment roll off our back more easily then we could at thirteen.  Not everything in an OMG moment (For those not hip to the lingo, omg= Oh My God with your choice of affectation).

When sharing information about kids online we need to remember that in their own social circles they have a public and private self too.  It does not look like ours in adulthood.  The things we know are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things could very well be everything to the younger generation.  Don’t dismiss it outright.  Sharing certain things about your kids online may seem benign and safe, but at a certain age for your child, it may become a betrayal of their private self.

A Teaching Moment

Remember “The Christmas Story” scene with Ralphie in the pink bunny pj’s?  WHAT would he have done in the age of Facebook and Instagram?  In part one I warned kids that what they post could come back to haunt them in ways they don’t expect.  Parents, what you post could come back to haunt your kids in ways they probably see coming within their own youthful society.  Don’t dismiss it.  They don’t understand most of what concerns us half the time, but we teach them to respect our wishes anyway. Kids will not learn to respect others if they do not feel respected. Make them a part of the conversation and sharing process.  Take those memorable photos for your own keepsake; once upon a time that was enough.   If you are going to share images, or even details about your kids, talk to them first.  Let them pick the picture and even help write the post.  There is a little something deep inside most kids that are flattered that others’ in your world ask of them, but just like you, they have preferences in what they share with whom.

Our kids are a part of our lives.  When we talk about ourselves on social media we instinctively want to share the joys, concerns and sorrows of them just like anything else.  Social media is the digital diary that follows you forever.  What you post about your kids in your diary are the first pages in their diary.  Social media is here to stay.  Teach them respect of self and others by giving them some choice in their online presence early on.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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