Is Someone Watching You? – Blog 4

I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues the other day about privacy.  We were discussing how things have changed over the years.  The availability of technology definitely has some positives, but along with those comes what I believe to be one of the most significant negatives, personal privacy.  It seems that not that long ago as a teacher you could live a life outside of the school without worrying about everyone in the community knowing what you are doing, because it can end up on the Internet.  I am not saying that people were not aware in the past, but with the advent of technology more people, including our students are conscious of our behaviors outside of school.  The vast use of social networking has led to an atmosphere set out by George Orwell in his book 1984.  I find myself wondering if ‘Big Brother’ is watching me.

As teachers we do have a responsibility in this problem.  If we are part of the social networking and post information we cannot be so naïve that we believe that it will remain private?  Even in the past people gossiped, the only difference now is that these people have a much larger forum.  The availability of technology with the combination of social media and lack of privacy is a dangerous combination.  From stories of robbers using Facebook to target homes, to teachers losing their job for postings on social networking sites.  How can we go about protecting ourselves?  Information about you can end up online via you, your friends, colleagues or someone in the general public.  In all of these situations you may have the perception that this information will remain private.  With all the issues lately with Facebook security settings we should not expect our information to be private.  Where does your responsibility come into play in these situations?  Are we allowing ourselves to be victims by not informing and protecting ourselves?


There is so much information being gathered about us through cell phones, e-mails, credit cards and photos, it makes me question if there is any such thing as privacy anymore or just different shades of it.    What are our rights to privacy? I do not believe students, teachers, or the general public have a true sense of how their lives are out there for all to see.  I know when I present information to students, I let them know that whatever they put out on the internet, their grandmother should be able to read or look at.  I believe teachers need to take the same approach, by making themselves aware of what they put out in cyberspace for all to see.


CBS (February 6, 2011). The Internet and our right to privacy. Retrieved from

Ibata, D. (2011, October 10). Ruling goes against Barrow teacher who lost job over facebook posting.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved from

Mello, J.P. (2010, September 10). Gang uses facebook to rob houses.  PC World. Retrieved from

Rogers, K. (2012, October 15). Facebook users raise privacy concerns as company tweaks security settings. The Guardian. Retrieved from

About pjstokes

I like just about all sports...mainly participating in them. I have also recently taken up photography as a hobby (the background pic is one of mine).
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2 Responses to Is Someone Watching You? – Blog 4

  1. joannadziewaltowski says:

    If the big brother is not watching you, than all the kids in your class are. I was at a Halloween party this weekend with some colleagues of mine. One of my fellow nurse and her husband, a teacher came dressed up in pink dresses and tiaras as Super Bass Girls from The Ellen Degeneres Show. As soon as my friend pulled out her iPhone to snap some couples photos, he screamed “Don’t, I want to be a principal one day!”.

    The next day the couple’s photos made it onto Facebook, however without tagging him in them. Your post is absolutely right, teachers (and all serious career people) must protect their privacy, or what’s left of it. You have to be smart about what you post and what privacy settings your social media tools bear.

  2. Brent Thompson-Wade says:

    Hi Pat,

    Today we live in a world where the expectation of personal privacy is seen in shades of grey and no longer black and white. I think all professionals have to be very careful not to post images of themselves on any social media page which others could consider offensive or inappropriate given their profession. Professionals have to beware of both their ethical and professional code of conduct obligations before posting or allowing themselves to be put into a situation, which might compromise their personal or professional integrity. There is no question that technology is making it harder and harder to maintain our personal privacy and that’s why I keep my personal privacy settings at the maximum so I can restrict as much as I can about myself. In the end the only way to keep information private is to not put it on the net!


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