Anonymity is the new virginity.
*Gasp* Do I have your attention now? Good. My attempt to push the envelope is totally working – I’m crazy like that. In all seriousness, I hope it’s at least memorable and causes you to think.
No. 16 of “Sophie’s” #SweetSixteen: # Protect Your Privacy
The moment kids become socially active they give up some part of their anonymity. Many are so focused on having thousands of followers, creating the next viral YouTube video and getting famous without really considering potential pitfalls along the way. Many kids (e.g., 8-13 year olds) on Instagram and other social media platforms have multiple accounts, some private – some public. Some secret. Popularity and acceptance measured in heart likes and follows is an irresistible temptation.
It is disturbing and frightening as a parent to see more and more headlines about kids at much younger ages becoming involved in sexting incidences at schools around the country.
Would you know what to do if an embarrassing photo of your child were to turn up on the internet? You can have all of the privacy settings you want – the words “online” and “privacy” should never be put together, because (no news flash) there is no such thing. It takes exactly one teensy impulsive second to take a screenshot of anything and share it with the world. Getting it gone? That’s a whole different-difficult-eye-gouging-headache-of-a-story. One that would likely require the involvement of a lawyer. Lawyers cost money. I did some research and there is a lot of information about what you can do to “delete yourself” from the internet, but nothing cut and dried on having specific images removed. I did find this via Daily Genius.
Let’s not forget about that good old fashioned ounce of prevention!
Kids lack the emotional and psychological maturity that enables them to think several steps ahead of their actions or knee jerk reactions – especially on this playground. As I was thinking about this post yesterday, Bill Latchford, Founder of Protect Children Online tweeted his thoughts to me:
Gia Guidice, joined Twitter at the ripe old age of nine in September of 2011. While this “news” story is so two thousand and fourteen, it’s still out there. Gia has since apologized for her unfortunate choice of words and said she “feels awful”. *mkay
What has been seen can never be unseen.
Another example is Vodka Samm, a college student who had no idea her drunken tweets could go viral because she only had a couple hundred followers. I feel that her story – and the fact that she learned from it and could potentially help someone else- is worthy of remembering. I’ve tried to find an update on her and hope that she is doing well. I did find this quote from a post about her in September, 2014.
“I think there has to be a balance of teaching our kids the perils of posting inappropriate things online and the impact it could have on their lives, while also having an empathy for one another and realizing that we are all human meaning fundamentally, we are all flawed.” – George Couros, The Pincipal of Change
Well said George, I absolutely agree.
As always, we need to pay close attention. Please do consider my book as an important (not preachy) resource, along with Parental Control Software.
Feel free to share your thoughts below!
Thanks for stopping by,
ox J. J.