Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Open Letter on Internet Safety in Blogging

This is the second post in a series of 'open letters'.

Dear Students,

I mentioned in my first open letter that having your own blog was a little like MySpace, so it's important that we refresh your memory about some security measures that you should take.

The temptation for you as a writer is to reveal things about yourself, but we all need to remember that the internet is a public space. Would you write your name and personal details on an advertising board at a bus stop? Would you leave photographs of yourself lying around the school? Look at the number of celebrities who are now regretting giving other people access to their private lives as a result of poor personal security.

The reality is that as soon as we leave details about, or photographs of, ourselves or our friends and family in our blog, we are allowing any reader to use this information or these images in whatever ways they want. It is very easy to make a copy of an image in a blog and then edit it inappropriately.

It might seem hypocritical that I leave my full name on my blog - since I advise you not to - but I only do this as it's part of my work. If my blog was purely part of my own learning and enjoyment, then it would be fine for me to create a different username. There is no need for your reader to know your last name.

To stop anyone from bullying you by leaving inappropriate comments on your blog, you should take some precautions. Go to 'Settings', then 'Comments'. Scroll down to 'Enable comment moderation' and click 'yes', and then write in your school email address, and click 'Save'. This will mean that all comments will be emailed to you first for you to decide whether or not they should be published. You need to develop the habit of checking your emails daily, and be sure to publish all comments from teachers.

Getting access to a blog in school is a responsibility that we should not take for granted, and we need to be sensible about this. Before you publish, just think of it like road safety and look both ways.

Happy posting,
Pat Wagner

No comments:

Building a Beta Web Headline Animator