Having a blog has taught me a number of things over the last 3+ years. This would include online privacy and the need to protect one's data. As a blogger, I'm online all the time, posting entries or heading to social media. Aspects of my life are on full display and this can be scary to say the least. What has become most important to me is where I am posting and what I am posting. I have been more guarded with my pictures. I post often on Instagram, but I keep my account private, so my pictures can't be used without permission. It's important to be guarded about my work as well. I want to write in a way that honors my wife and child and what I feel The Brown Gothamite represents. I often pause at length before ranting and raving on social media or on my blog.
I have spoken with other bloggers about this very topic. Some feel it is ok to post risqué pictures in a group if it is private. I disagree. Not only are some of these posts entirely inappropriate and borderline illegal, but they can become a "digital tattoo". I first heard this term used a few years ago at a school administrator conference. The keynote speaker talked about owning your online data and not letting it own you. You want to avoid gaining a digital tattoo, because they stay with you permanently, much like an actual ink tattoo. It might affect the ability to gain acceptance to a school. It could affect whether you receive or maintain employment. There are far too many young people who do not think about what they are posting online. They bully, spread gossip, and post pictures they often regret. As a parent and educator, I believe adults need to aid young folks and help them navigate these treacherous waters, and become better models.
If you are looking to have a dialogue with your child about owning your data and online privacy, here are some helpful resources.
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