Sunday, January 13, 2013

GEEK rules - keeping families safe in an online environment

Today was TEDxASB, which was the opening to ASB Un-Plugged Impact 2013.  This year's conference is about effecting change with the brain in mind.  There were a number of interesting speakers this evening, but for this post I want to focus on the presentation by Dr. Larry Rosen who spoke about the issues of managing your virtual identity when everything you do online from sending emails, using apps that follow where you are, connecting through social media and so on leaves a record as permanent as a tattoo.

First of all he talked about identity and compared it to being an actor on a stage.  You can become a different person on the stage than you are backstage.  Sherry Turkle, author of The Second Self, also refers to having 2 different identities, whereas Carl Rogers says we have 3 selfs:  the real one, our ideal one and the self we think we ought to be.  Larry Rosen questions, should there also be a 4th self - an internet self?  He asked which self we present to the world online - an honest one or one that we adopt to make ourselves look good?

An interesting fact Larry mentioned is that 100% of children have a virtual footprint by the age of 10 - mostly this is because parents post photos of their children and tag them in the photos.  He also asked which self do we want our children to present and came up with these GEEK guidelines for what young people should be asking before they post:

G - The grandma rule:  don't post anything you wouldn't want your grandma to see or read
E - the e-waiting rule:  wait at least a minute before you press post or send
E - start early - introduce the technology to them early so that you can set the rules for using it
K - the keep vigilant rule:  manage the location of the technology so it is in a public place, monitor screen time, co-view with your children and set Google Alerts for their names so you will be notified when something is posted about them.

Sensible advice I think.

If you haven't already read it, you might also be interested in the contract that Janell Burley Hofmann drew up for her 13 year old son Gregory this Christmas when he was given an iPhone.

Photo Credit:  Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smiling by GSCSNJ, 2007 AttributionNoncommercial

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