Youth Under Survelliance: Privacy Matters

My daughter leaves subtle, but obvious tell-tale signs that she was there:

  • Toothpaste in the sink
  • Sneakers in the middle of the floor
  • Socks in odd places
  • Crumbs on the table

Sound like anyone you know?

For those of us who use social media, there’s a different set of crumbs we all leave behind, even if we’re unaware of it. Our virtual footprint.

Geotags are embedded information that tag the global position where the phone was used to take the picture. It’s part of GPS technology in cell phones that was originally thought to be a feature for emergency crews to track cell phone locations, but it’s now being used in other ways. For example, you take a picture with your cell phone then post it to Facebook. Someone with just a little bit of computer knowledge can figure out location by looking at the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken. Then, the next time you post that you’re going to work or hanging out with friends, online predators can monitor your movement and uncover patterns in your behavior, opening the door for theft. And thanks to websites like (which closed in January 2012), people can monitor social media and let people know when their photos are giving away their locations.

Protecting your privacy is not just a matter of being aware and personally responsible. A friend may take a geotagged photo at your house and post it on a social media site–no malice intended.

Media Literacy Week 2012

The 7th annual Media Literacy Week is October 28 – November 4 in U.S.; November 5 – 9, 2012 in Canada, and the theme is Privacy Matters.   The goal of MLW this year is to encourage parents, teachers and community leaders to help youth better manage their personal information online.

Private Made Public

Young people today spend large amounts of time sharing parts of their personal lives online playing games, “checking in” with geolocation applications like Foursquare and social media sites, posting photos and catching up with friends on social media sites. Despite this openness, young people’s privacy does indeed matter to them, especially as their online actions become increasingly monitored by parents, educators, and corporations.
Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program

Beware of “Kid-Friendly” TV Shows

Just because a show airs on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel does not mean that it portrays characters and situations appropriate for your child.  If your child watches programs with content you’re not sure about, make time to watch programs with them and discuss what’s happening. Evaluate the message the show is portraying, talk about whether you agree, and guide your child on any similar decisions they may face. You can also write letters to broadcast executives if they air content you take exception to.

The Illusion of Choice

Did you know that only 6 companies control the media in the U.S.?


Check out these other resources for digital media literacy:
Logging Off the Digital Drama in Social Media
Resourceful and Resilient Youth

Think B4U
Diversity in Media: “That’s Not Me”


Have you gotten caught off with your child’s TV programming choices? Tell me about it on Facebook and follow my media literacy board on Pinterest.