On the Issue of Privacy

During the panel discussion at the Student Academy the issue of privacy was brought up, so here are some thoughts:

I wonder what the future of such websites like Facebook and Myspace will be like, specifically the use of them by my generation. Our social connections and much of our time is spent on these websites now but, what will the use of these sites be like in the future? Will people my age continue to use them into their 20s, 30s, and so on? Will new websites be generated to cater to my generation as we get older? Or will we share the same online space with our own children? Perhaps, our own children won’t put up pictures of themselves, as Ben put it, “participating in awful activity-x”. A sort of counter-culture to their parents raucous online behavior. I believe there was a time before the internet and the digital camera where people just didn’t need to record every stupid thing they did, maybe our children will emulate that. Or maybe there will be some radical shift in parent-child relationships? I remember, being shocked when I heard of parents allowing their teenagers throw parties and drink alcohol, as long as there were parents present to make sure everyone is safe. Is this some weird idea or leading to a future change? I know that was a bit of a rabbit trail…

Jeff McClurken brought up the fact that we used to think of the internet as transitory when in reality a lot of it is permanent, every typo and bad picture is stored on a server. He asked the panel if we thought this was something that needed to be talked about. While I believe it is something that needs to addressed, I would hope that people would be educated about that sooner than college. Elementary students are already capable of surfing the internet why not start there? Isn’t it easier to brainwash them when they are young anyway? By the time most people get to college they don’t care anymore (not saying that information shouldn’t be available) but, I just doubt that students would take a lecture in Dodd Auditorium seriously. Maybe there could be a better way of addressing it but, most college students don’t care to hear it. The internet is just another thing in a long line of things that teenagers use to be rebellious. No matter what, teenagers will be reckless, one has to hope that they’ve been educated enough and they don’t screw up too much.

Maybe my generation is just more comfortable with sharing and privacy isn’t needed as much. Of course, no one wants their identity stolen or to be stalked by an online psycho but, maybe we are just more open as a generation.


2 Responses to “On the Issue of Privacy”

  1. 1 J. McClurken April 3, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Okay, so a lecture in Dodd wouldn’t work (does any lecture in a group that size?) However, beyond the stolen identity and/or psycho isssue (and not to make light of either), what about the possibility that employers seem to be using Facebook, MySpace, etc. to evaluate job candidates (as Ben mentioned). I agree that being aware of the long term results of privacy should be stressed at earlier levels, but I asked that question because it seems to me that a lot of your fellow students have not been so careful or thoughtful about such issues as you and the other panelists clearly have. So, maybe we can stress greater awareness of one’s online identity now, with the hope that teachers and parents will begin to address such problems at an earlier age, making such conversations at the college level moot in the future.

  2. 2 sehauser April 3, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    You are probably right that more people are less aware of the fact employers are looking at Facebook and Myspace accounts. Although, this is the internet so news will spread. I’m not sure how exactly this would be addressed but, it is a good point.
    Although, if by the time you are looking for a real job you are still putting ridiculous photos up on Facebook and claim your occupation as stoner on Myspace, maybe there is good reason why you shouldn’t have a job.
    There is a thing called privacy settings too, you can have control over who gets what information. I guess you just have to make sure your friends keep the incriminating pictures to a minimum ; )

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