A social profile is not a CV

Recently The Age published an article stating that a social media profile is not a CV. Year 11 student Olympia Nelson states:

Young people need to be protected from cyber-spying by prospective employers.

It’s creepy to think that you’re being stalked. But how much creepier is it that a group of people sit around a long table analysing information on your Facebook profile in order to decide whether you’re worthy of a job in their organisation?

The government is not going to protect you from people looking at what you publish. It’s up to you to portray yourself as you’d like to be seen. She continues:

When teachers say: ‘‘Do you know that employers will actually search you on Facebook’’, they are implicitly condoning, rather than condemning, this despicable and illogical intrusiveness. Why aren’t they devoting their energies to berating search companies for cyber-stalking?

Like it or not, what you put out to the public domain via social media is going to be viewed and used by others. Whether it’s a prospective employer or worse, what you publicly publish is open to all. We aren’t condoning it, we’re just telling it like it is. A reminder to think before you post.

Children caught in online blackmail

A concerning story from the United Kingdom a few weeks ago involving children being blackmailed. The Independent reports:

The blackmailing of children has emerged as a fast-growing new method employed by sadistic abusers who operate behind fake profiles on social networks to take advantage of youthful sexual experimentation and snare their victims, driving some to self-harm and even suicide.

…grooming often starts on open chat forums before moving to private areas where the talk swiftly becomes more explicit. The threats usually start after children have been tricked into posting compromising pictures of themselves that they fear could be distributed more widely.

Although this story concerns the United Kingdom, it’s a timely reminder for us all to ensure we know who it is we’re communicating with online and not to share intimate photos and/or videos online.

Online privacy faces court challenge

An interesting article coming out of the United Kingdom that spy agency GSHQ has breached the privacy of tens of millions of Europeans.

“[there is a] lack of democratic accountability and judicial oversight. People living across the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond need the courts to protect their rights and start the process of re-establishing public trust.”

As some of our data is stored in the United Kingdom and United States, this is an issue that is relevant to Australians as well. Currently it seems we don’t know who actually has access to our data, which is a real privacy concern.

StayFocusd Chrome Extension limits the time that you can spend online

StayFocusd is a productivity extension for
Google Chrome that helps you stay focused
on work by restricting the amount of time
you can spend on time-wasting websites.
Once your allotted time has been used up,
the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible
for the rest of the day.
It is highly configurable, allowing you to
block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains,
specific paths, specific pages, even specific
in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).

You must use Google Chrome as your browser to use StayFocused. This could be quite a useful tool for both students and adults alike.

A Letter To Parents Of Digital Age Children

This letter to parents of digital age children has three specific pieces of advice:

1. Teach your children how to cross the digital street

2. Help your children pursue their passions online

3. Help your children manage their digital “brand”

It continues

We need parents to act as important models and supports in their childrens’ explorations online. We need, parents and schools alike, to get past the fear that holds us back from connecting with young people when they need us most. Only then can we help them travel far and learn from the journey once they cross the street to encounter the world.

Read more here.

Who’s chatting to your kids?

Queensland Police has developed a resource for parents entitled Who’s chatting to your kids: surviving social media use with your children. Covering the topics of:

  • social media
  • smart devices and phones
  • other internet capable devices (gaming consoles, smart televisions)
  • sexting
  • signs your child could be at risk
  • suggestions to help protect your child on the internet
  • family safety internet agreement

The most important piece of advice they give is:

Maintain direct and open communication with your child.

This is a useful resource, however, I’d like to see more emphasis on children and young adults being encouraged to build a positive digital footprint.

I need to know about location based services

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information on location based services is must read information for everyone with a smart phone.

Smartphones have a built-in feature called geolocators that can pinpoint your exact location. This data is often published online through social networking sites, or used by location-based services such as maps, public transport apps, retail services and so on. It can also be embedded in images you take with your smartphone camera. Sometimes, you might want to think twice before you check in and tell the world where you are.

For more information, click here.