Tag Archive for socialnetwork

Facebook privacy changes in schools

This week, I sent my first “Facebook warning” to employees, students, and parents. Here’s the teacher version.

Dear Colleagues,

Facebook has implemented new privacy settings that make it much easier to broadly share your personal information. If you accept Facebook’s recommended privacy settings, Facebook will make your status updates, links, photos, videos, and notes available to the entire Internet (think Google). I recommend that you instead manually adjust your settings. Select Settings -> Privacy Settings from the blue menu bar and review the options in there.

In addition, Facebook will now share your friend list both on the Internet and with third-party Facebook applications. You do not have control over that.

This article explains the change in greater detail.

I encourage you to raise this topic with your students. Let me know if you have further questions.


Facebook has made significant changes to their privacy policy before. Why did I react strongly to this particular one? So many students, a lot of parents, and a number of teachers use Facebook regularly. Privacy is an important concern for all of these groups but particularly for students. The new features directly affect user privacy, and Facebook’s recommended settings reduce user privacy. In the past year, we have gained a more detailed understanding of Facebook use in our school community. We felt it appropriate to help our users keep up with the moving target of Facebook privacy settings.

By finely managing one’s privacy and post settings, it’s now possible to maintain a fine degree of control over one’s posts. However, that control may be illusory, as Facebook seems happy to change the rules on their platform pretty regularly. Who knows where and when they will head next.

Gaming, social networks, and compulsive behavior

We recently held a parent evening with Jerald Block, M.D., psychiatrist and expert on internet addiction. Dr. Block provided the group with a highly data-based analysis of the issues, focusing our attention on real issues that merit our concern and debunking popular, politically-motivated misconceptions about the effects of technology on kids. We had a large turnout for the event, demonstrating parents’ concern and desire to learn more about this field.

Please visit the Catlin Gabel web site to listen to the presentation and view Dr. Block’s slides. (We have permission to post them there.)

Block and parents