Personal Privacy on Social Media

-Hillary Wragg, contributing writer

What is personal privacy? Privacy is the state of being apart from people or concealed from their view, according to the dictionary. Does this idea still exist? In our college age bracket, not so much. You can find anything about anyone in this day and age thanks to the Internet. With all the social media being introduced to us, we tend to find it unnecessary to keep personal things personal. There isn’t a day that goes by where one doesn’t see a new post, tweet, hashtag, or snapchat about what others are currently doing. Also, it’s becoming common for schools to start keeping tabs on their students by way of social media to have more access to them. I feel that personal privacy is something that we should practice more often, but I also know that it’s unlikely to happen in today’s society.

The Internet itself allows us to have access to any and everyone’s personal information. With a quick search on Google, we can find out some people’s number, address, place of business, parents’ name, and age. This kind of thing is helpful, yet harmful if ever in the wrong hands. In this case, we should filter what we do, particularly while partaking in social media.

Personal privacy in social media is nearly obsolete. Starting with Myspace, then Facebook, after that Twitter, and now Instagram and Snapchat, putting it all out there is almost second nature to us. Nothing is off-limits nowadays. People post everything from their social security number to their deceased loved ones online—things that should not be put out there. As the saying goes: “Once it’s out there, you can’t get it back.” In my opinion, it’s perfectly fine to express yourself and let your fears and dreams out for the world to see. It is okay to post videos or pictures that are funny. But it’s not okay to take revealing pictures and post them or to share screenshot messages of something very personal between you and someone else. That invades their personal privacy and may lead to others teasing or cyberbullying them.

A school in Illinois has begun obtaining the Facebook passwords of their students due to cyber bulling. In the case of cyber bullying I see why they would want to have access to students’ personal information, but I don’t agree with this, nor do I think it will make a big change. It is uncalled for due to the fact that students can make fake or new pages and can change their passwords in an instant. It would be a waste of time and effort to check every student’s page to see if they are bullying or not. It’s a good idea, but useless to enforce.

On the other hand, I find that having tracking devices in school identifications would be quite useful. A Texan school implemented this idea and has said it to be helpful and useful. The ease to locate students no matter where they are is very convenient. I think that with this tracking, it really doesn’t invade any personal privacy and keeps everything in order. The ease of typing in a student I.D. number or name and being able to find them anywhere in the school is great, especially in the case of an incident or emergency. While this has many plusses, there is one downside. If someone, who is preferably out to hurt certain students could get access to the tracking system or hacks it, it could put the student or students in danger.

It’s called personal privacy for a reason, and I feel that it’s something we need to start making personal again. In my opinion, you can’t erase or take back anything nowadays, so we have to be careful of what we do and put out for the world to look at. We have to keep in mind that as we grow older, we need to be able to look back and not be ashamed of what we have done in the past. We should know that everything we do has a reaction, whether it’s good or bad, and that extends even to things we do on social media.

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