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Facebook and Privacy Don’t Mix!

But in my opinion, they aren’t supposed to either.
Social networking is entirely about being found. If you’re not willing to be found you probably shouldn’t be social networking, at least on Facebook.
The original point of Facebook was to be found by other people. You put in information such as your educational background, your likes or dislikes, where you live and your age. It keeps track of your friends and the idea is that information is shared with everybody you’re friends with and everybody they are friends with too. So if you know somebody who knows somebody you hook up. Or at least that’s the idea.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for privacy, but not in this context. Twitter is about privacy. You don’t have to tell anybody anything except post it every time you sneeze. There is minimal identifying information and the whole point is just to continually post updates about what you’re doing or blogging about so people can follow you. Facebook is not Twitter. The point of Facebook is to keep in touch with friends you already have, but also make a whole bunch of new ones and expand your social horizons. Posting every time you sneeze is entirely optional on Facebook.
I think it’s also important to note that very little of the information that you can enter on Facebook is actually required. There is nobody sitting there holding a gun to your head saying you must post your birthday. However, if you do put at least the month and day you were born up there you will get a whole bunch of birthday greetings out of it. (It’s a nice reward after a hard years work!) And there are privacy settings available. You don’t have to share your information with friends of friends. You can modify those settings so that your information is only shared with the people on your contact list.
There are too many privacy groups going after Facebook complaining that too much information is shared. Again, nobody makes anybody enter information they don’t want to share and the privacy settings are there to limit who sees what. I think we need to remember the original goal of Facebook and use it for it’s intended purpose.
Here’s my solution: If you don’t want to be found use Twitter instead.

Facebook Changes Again

Alright so we’ve had some major changes to Facebook over the last couple of days.  Aren’t they just lovely?  I suppose the biggest concern when Facebook changes things is always privacy.  How have they affected my privacy this time?

Well I suppose the biggest change is the ticker on the right hand side of the page.  I’m not sure I need to know every single time somebody comments on somebody’s picture or status.  I just don’t think it’s that necessary.  My personal opinion is that I’d like to be able to turn it off entirely, but that’s beside the point.  How can we get rid of some of that “spam” so I don’t have to know what everybody else is doing at every second?

If you take your mouse pointer and you put it over somebody’s name a little box pops up.  It shows you their picture and has two buttons.  One of those buttons says “Subscribe”.  If you now move your mouse pointer over the “Subscribe” button there are a whole bunch of options, all of which are checked off by default.  The big one in there is “Comments and Posts”.  By un-checking that for that specific person you will no longer see their comments and posts in that little ticker.  Now this is a LOT of work.  You have to go through everybody on your contact list and start un-checking that same option for each of them.  That’s no small feat with 300 people on your contact list.  But if you do it for the people that post the most often it will cut down on the spam in the ticker significantly.

Unfortunately you do not have this option with fan pages and group pages.  With those you get to see what they are doing constantly.  Fortunately since it’s not a personal page you are unlikely to see things you don’t want to see.

The other thing we need to do is go back into the Privacy Settings on Facebook and have a look around.  In my opinion the things that should be turned off by default are.  There is no crisis to be averted in that area.  But it never hurts to look around and see if you want to change things.  Specifically look at the way Facebook is handling apps, particularly if you like to play games or check your horoscope.  You can limit the information that Facebook gives to these apps.  In fact you can turn it off entirely now.  So my suggestions is always to make your own decisions and do what’s best for you.

I’ve said before (to others) that if you want complete anonymity and privacy then Facebook is probably not the best place to hang out.  Part of being on a social media website like Facebook is having some of that privacy invaded.  Yes I agree, it’s nice to have control over who sees what, but part of the point of Facebook is to be found if you will.  While I’m not a huge fan of seeing everybody’s every move (I think it’s overkill), I also don’t agree with the idea that I should be able to completely disappear either.  I think there is a happy medium in there somewhere and I think it’s important to find it.  If we really don’t want people to know, then we just don’t put it on Facebook and we don’t post it as a status.  Simple as that.

As always,

The Geeky Teacher

Most people call me Laura.



Kid Friendly Email

It does exist!  Really!  You just have to go find it.

Good kid friendly email is generally a paid for service (usually a one time fee or a yearly fee) that allows the parents to control who is allowed to email the child and who the child is allowed to email.  It also protects the email from spam and allows the parent to see every email the child gets.

Like anything we do with our kids, this one requires parental involvement.  The parent needs to get on the computer and monitor the activity in that email account.  Most of these providers set the parent up with a separate account and password.  All activity will be sent to you in your own email account.  If you don’t already have one now is a good time to sign up for a Hotmail or Gmail account.

Kids do outgrow this unfortunately.  There comes a point where they will figure out what your email and password are and change the settings themselves.  But I figure by this point they are old enough to be taught how to handle a Hotmail or similar free account and to be able to use it responsibly.  It doesn’t mean you can’t check either.  One of the rules of using the account may mean that the parents have to have the password.

I will put a couple of links to some kid friendly email for you.  I’m not endorsing these particular ones nor am I getting any money from putting these links here.  I am simply saving you the trouble of using Google to find them on your own.  However if you want to check a few out on your own use search terms such as “child friendly email” or “email for children”.

Kids Email

Safe N Sound Email



Happy emailing!


a.k.a The Geeky Teacher


Report Demonstrates Expectation Gap in Technology Use in Schools (via ed20dotcom)

I thought these statistics were rather interesting. Please feel free to read the article and my comments at the end. I’d be interested to know your thoughts as well.
Thank you to ed20dotcom for posting the article.

Report Demonstrates Expectation Gap in Technology Use in Schools Everyone is talking about the need for technology in schools and the important of 1:1 learning.   However, in a recent survey, 21st  Century Classroom Report,  from CDW-G, a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and health care, many teachers and students feel that their schools are not meeting technology expectations. Over 1,000 high school students, faculty and staff were polled about the importance of usi … Read More

via ed20dotcom

Social Media for Kids

I figured I might as well jump in with both feet.  I mean why not right?  It’s always good to get everybody talking early.  Okay, so what about social media and our teenage generation?  Good, bad or just plain ugly?

I guess you could say I’m a tech friendly parent.  I have two kids, my daughter is 8 years old and my son is only 19 months old.  My daughter is coming to that age of social media awareness.  She realizes the internet exists and she wants to use it and she does.  She has her own computer already.  It’s an old thing, destined for a museum some day, but it works.  It’s enough for her.  She can play her games on there and check her email.

Email?  But she’s only 8 and can barely spell!  Yes I realize this.  I paid a one time fee to setup an email for her that I have control over.  She gets no spam,  ever.  The only email addresses that she can get email from are the ones that I put on a contact list for her.  She can only send email to those same addresses.  If I haven’t authorized the email she doesn’t see it.  So that means if one of these people gets a virus or has their email stolen and the spam starts coming, I’ll see it before my daughter does.  We’re not at the point yet where she knows enough to setup her own email accounts, so this works.

She has a few websites she can visit.  They are Disney or child friendly websites that have games on them that she likes to play.  Again, she hasn’t figured out how to type in a website address and go somewhere else.  So for now she can only go to the sites that I’m willing to put her on.  Will she figure it out at some point?  Absolutely!  Fortunately for me I have the ability to block just about any website I want to.  I’ll share those tips and tricks as we go along.

Now that said, I guess simply because of the sheer number of hours I spend on the web in a given week I don’t think the Internet is as evil and bad as some do.  I have the view that the Internet is a giant teachable moment that I can use to show my daughter how to remain safe and still have a good time.  Because I spend so much time here and because I know that my daughter is coming to an age where she will also be spending a lot of her time on the web as well, I feel like I can use it to my advantage.  It can be a relationship building experience instead of one where I just simply say “no” until she’s old enough to make her own decisions.

Facebook will come, when she’s 13.  Twitter will come, probably around the same time, along with whatever new social media pops up between now and then.  Cutting them off from social media is like sending them to school in a muzzle.  It’s part of their social network, the way the kids relate to each other.   I think accepting these media, learning to use them ourselves, and being part of that environment is part of being a parent just like going to the hockey game and attending the Christmas concert are part of being a parent.  It’s just something we have to do!

I will, in future posts, provide ways of controlling your child’s Internet experience, provide links to child friendly email (you will have to pay for these), and discuss Facebook and Twitter in more detail.  Feel free to ask questions in the meantime though and I will be happy to answer them.

Have a great day!


a.k.a. The Geeky Teacher

And so it begins…

This is the start of something big I hope so welcome to my Tech Blog.  The goal here is to make computers accessible to everybody.  I’m going to avoid geek speak as much as possible and when I do use it, I’ll make sure I explain it.  Your job is to tell me when you don’t understand something so I can explain it better for you in another post.

We’re going to spend our time talking computers as it relates to everything from hardware and software to Facebook and Twitter and how to keep your kids safe on the web.  Will we disagree sometimes?   Probably!  Is that okay?  Absolutely!  As long as we’re nice about it and things don’t become personal it’s all good!  Feel free to comment, make suggestions and ask questions.  I’ll answer everything that comes my way!

So I thank you for joining me on my journey into the blogosphere and I welcome you to learn with me as I try to help you navigate this thing they call a computer and all the wonders that come with it!

Thanks again!


a.k.a. The Geeky Teacher

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