Saturday, May 8, 2010

How private are we?

Yesterday I attended the Manaiakalani Lead Teachers' Meeting (E-Learning Cluster Meeting). The first discussion we had was on the topic of privacy. In our decile 1 school settings we are very fortunate to have parents that give their permission for their child's images and work to go up onto a public blog which can be accessed by any one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The children are known by their first name. Other schools of a higher decile are not so lucky as parents refuse for their child's identity and work to be displayed on the Internet. Therefore principals make the decision for students work to be kept under a private domain within the school.
Yet the exposure of childrens' identities and images, could be occurring outside of school hours, no matter what socio economic position you are in. Due to social networking sites such as Face Book, parents could easily upload pictures of their children or post videos of their child onto this site, under their name.
Depending on their facebook settings it is not too hard for members of the public to access these images. What makes things worse is the fact that the child's first and last name are there or if the child's first name is there, it is not too hard to make the connection between the first and last name.
Besides the images, parents can easily write wall posts on these areas: milestones that the child achieves and behaviour as to how well their child behaved on a particular day. The wall posts can easily be used as an area for venting, especially if the child misbehaves or does something bad or embarrasing. The child doesn't have much of a say as to whether they want their private lives exposed to the rest of the world or to a small group of friends in a positive or negative way.

The questions lie what's worse: Putting childrens' work and images onto a class blog celebrating their progress in a positive way, where the children are reflective practitioners
or Parents uploading their child's images, videos outside of school hours where the child's reputation can be perceived as either positive or negative

What are your thoughts on this subject?
I am keen to get your feedback on this subject, so please leave a comment.

This You Tube clip discusses how children these days have an individual dossier, from the time that they are born right through until death. However, the individual dossier could live on after death, through tributes and activities the person has been involved in.

Digitalnatives (August 13, 2008) Digital Dossier (Video file) Retrieved from:


  1. Thank you for your thoughts, I enjoyed reading this post. I work at a Decile 10 school and we are doing blogging but simply use the children's initials rather than first names.

  2. Thanks Ms F for your comment. I'm always keen to learn how other schools manage student privacy with the use of student work going online.

    Appreciate your feedback.

    Joy Paton