Swiss Cheese Privacy? What We Teach and What We Do


What Parents and Teachers Should Note from Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate Testimony by Jenny Abamu and Tina Nazerian
EdSurge News,  April 10, 2018

Schools Choose Not to Delete Facebook Despite Data- Privacy Worries by Sarah Schwartz
Education Week, April 6, 2018

Concerns About Online Privacy are Top of Mind Across America by Ari Pinkus
American Communities Project, April 9, 2018 

Since the widespread adoption and use of social networking, its impact on society in general and children in particular has been a topic of considerable conversation and concern. Ari Pinkus of the American Communities Project reported on April 9, 2018, that across diverse US populations and regions, concerns about online privacy are a common denominator. Facebook’s recent admission that Cambridge Analytics mined personal data from 87 million of its over 2 billion users for the purpose of creating targeted political ads has only amplified the conversation, especially as it pertains to K-12 education. Although at the outset, K-12 schools were reluctant to use social networking apps, many K-12 schools now embrace and even promote social networking platforms in an effort to streamline communication across constituencies. In their EdSurge news article, "What Parents and Teachers Should Note from Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate Testimony," Jenny Abamu and Tina Nazerian highlight key takeaways related to K-12 education from Zuckerberg’s April 10-11 testimony. Specifically, Facebook’s Messenger app, which is accessible by children ages 13 and older, does not protect those children from third party data mining apps. According to Sarah Schwartz of Education Week, however, despite data-privacy worries, schools are by and large choosing not to join the movement to #deleteFacebook. In light of that fact, the Consortium for School Networking and the National Education Policy Center recommend that schools take a close look at how they are using social networking and take steps to avoid pressuring students to use Facebook in order to experience or complete required school work. Schools are encouraged to provide alternate modes of communication, too, for parents who may not wish to use Facebook or other popular social networking sites. Teaching students about digital citizenship, while crucial, can only go so far if schools themselves ask students to engage with technology that does not protect their privacy, what Steve Smith, chief information officer for the Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts, calls "swiss cheese privacy."

Submitted By: Jessica Flaxman, Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, MA

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