Online Privacy: Something to Think About

prWhile spending almost a year teaching and researching about digital citizenship in the education sector, I have come across many interesting facts and recurring issues related to this matter. In the 21st century, we are irrefutably living in two worlds that are closely connected: the virtual world and the non-virtual world; however, for many, these two worlds are strongly bound and make up one ultimate reality.

Acceptance, self-limitation and identity may be more adequately portrayed online; conversely, where does this leave us in terms of the real world? When it comes to our online presence and privacy, it can be quite easy to overlook putting way too much or in some cases, too little of yourself out there.

In a world where we hear horror stories about employers stumbling upon what is thought to be “private information,” it can be a tricky issue trying to be self-expressive and professional at the same time. This is especially true for students and young professionals who are eager to join the workforce while maintaining a public social life displayed online. Times have inevitably changed and what you have posted online along with what your digital footprint reveals can be critical in terms of who hires you next…or possibly, if you will be hired.

Employee tracking is not uncommon; in fact, it is the norm. In my own experience (when applying at my last job), I was flat-out told by the interviewer that upon looking into my Facebook account, he realized we had 3 mutual friends! You could image my stunned expression during the interview…all the while I was wondering if I was being judged based on these acquaintances – and who exactly they were! Thankfully, it turned out to be a happy ending, as I ended up landing the job, but I could have just as easily been rejected based on this issue. Ultimately, I see this as an open invitation for employer discrimination based on how much they can gather from someone’s online profile. While reflecting on online presence is important, it is also equally crucial to ensure one’s privacy online. While many of you may think your settings are all set to the utmost confidentiality, it is important to be precautious and think through our online identities. In my next blog, I plan to take you through the most vital steps of maintaining privacy in an ever-public world. Stay tuned!

Once you’ve lost your privacy, you realize you’ve lost an extremely valuable thing.

-Billy Graham

Best,

Lisa

 

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