A Georgia school district is facing a lawsuit after a teacher went on Facebook and snagged a picture of a student, then used the picture in a class lesson on how online postings stay public forever. Oh, the irony! Maybe if Chelsea Chaney had taken heed of that lesson, the photo of her posing in a bikini with a cardboard cut-out of Snoop Dogg would never have ended up in a classroom to begin with!
Which begs the question: who was teaching this kid about online safety? Who was monitoring her online?
I don't believe in going all Big Brother on our kids; they need at least a modicum of privacy. When there was talk of Facebook giving parents full control over their kids' accounts, I was quick to condemn the idea. Kids need a place to let themselves go, have emotions, have freedom of thought.
That said, as parents, it's our jobs to keep them safe.
And the Chelsea Haney situation teaches us that talking to our kids about social media privacy is not enough. We need to be double-checking that photos like the one that landed the Fayette County Schools District in a legal battle aren't being made public.
That doesn't mean taking over our kids' pages. It means checking their public profiles. What can people access from the outside?
Photos? Tweets? Personal information?
Yes, we should empower our kids with information to protect themselves, but it doesn't hurt to follow up and make sure they're actually practicing what we preach.
Don't do it and your kid could become the next lesson on Internet privacy.
Do you check your kids' public social media accounts to make sure they aren't putting themselves in danger?
Image via Jeff Peterson/Flickr