Sunday, February 20, 2011

Safety and Privacy online as indoors!

Keep it Private...

Do you chat on online or on MXit? Do you use Facebook, MSN, or Twitter? Do you trust the person you are chatting to? Are you sharing personal information about yourself, your family, or even your best friends? There is a good chance that you are being careless. This was the focus of our lesson tonight.

But first the agenda:

  • Take register
  • SCC badges
  • New club members
  • Lesson

The SCC (Sunridge Computer Club) is boasting its own spunky badge to be worn on the club members' school uniform (see the previous blog post). These badges are being sold to the SCC members for R25.00 and are compulsory. Old club members who were in grade 7 last year are also welcome to purchase a SCC badge as a keepsake.

There was a little surprise waiting for the club members in the form of freshly baked cake.

New Members
I am in the process of accepting new club members into the SCC. These new club members are all from grade 6, as well as the new grade 7 learners who joined Sunridge Primary this year. Prospective new club members were invited to email me with their application, motivating their reason for wishing to join. I checked their marks from last year's June and December computer literacy assessment and am currently interviewing the shortlisted candidates. Some learners have been notified of their successful application but a complete list will be published soon as soon as everybody has been notified of the status of their application.

This evening's lesson: Online Safety and Privacy
I specifically did this lesson now before the new grade 6 members join us as the club is currently made up of grade 7 learners only and this lesson pertains to the web design course our grade 7s are doing this year.

Statistics have shown that 79% of teenagers using the internet are not careful about sharing personal information. That is a scary thought.

Safety and privacy includes not publishing your telephone number, address, email address, or even your surname online. It is these same measures we'll be enforcing this year with our web design. By being careless with personal or contact information, you are not only putting yourself at unnecessary risk but also your family and friends. We watched a few educational cartoons which explained the problem very clearly. One eye-opening video in particular can found on YouTube by clicking here.

Online anonymity is not only an advantage but also a problem. Everyone can be anyone on the internet. Thus, learners need to apply sound judgment when engaging in chat rooms, FaceBook, MSN, Twitter, Skype, MXit, etc. The golden rule is to not accept friend requests/invites from somebody you don't know in real life.

Remember that a stranger is someone you don't know. Just because you've been chatting to someone online for months, and seen many photographs of them and their family doesn't mean that you know them. It could all be lies meant to deceive you. Be smart - don't be fooled.

This lesson is not meant to scare you. It is intended to inform you. The internet is a wonderful resource. You must just apply some good common sense.

Other things we looked at were:
  • Staying away from inappropriate material
  • Gauging whether information is factual, or opinionated
  • Making threats / law breaking
Our next club meeting will be in 3 weeks, not 2 weeks, due to the upcoming public holiday. We'll meet on 14 March at 17:15.

Until next time...