Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The fine line between our public & private lives online

Here is another article about how public and private lives are no longer being separated on the web. I have discussions about this all the time with my friends and peers about the etiquette and propriety needed online, especially in a field where so many kids can find you if you are not careful.
Our behavior online is so important now because, as I have recently experienced, it is so easy for my students to find me online. I have resorted to putting a lot of things "private" or "friends & family only" and am using a social networking blog site that has privacy options.
I also wonder about when or if there will ever be a line between private and public life. It is disappearing. Insurance & employers are penalizing individuals who smoke AT HOME and employers are viewing individuals MySpace or Facebook pages. When does it stop? Will it? When is it viewed as encroaching on individuals rights or lives?

"I hate to think of what's out there. . . . There's so much out there that it's hard to know what's there," said Ken Blackstone, a Prince William schools spokesman. "But as public employees, we all understand the importance of living a public life above reproach."

When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web

It's almost like Googling someone: Log on to Facebook. Join the Washington, D.C., network. Search the Web site for your favorite school system. And then watch the public profiles of 20-something teachers unfurl like gift wrap on the screen, revealing a sense of humor that can be overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional -- or both.

By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 28, 2008; A01

Local school officials said they don't necessarily scrutinize Facebook when they conduct background checks on teachers. But in some parts of the country, they do.

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