• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy

Social media sites are public places

Key Messages

  • Only post stuff that you'll be happy for anyone to see
  • Even if only friends can see your page - can your friends republish the information you put up there?
  • Know how to use your privacy settings - get the results you want

Illustrating the topic

    Dan was excited - his parents had finally agreed that he could have a social networking page on the site all his friends were on. He put everything about himself that he could think of on his page and accepted all his friends' invitations. He could sign in to the page from his phone, so he regularly posted updates about where he was and what he was doing. Then one day, a boy at school called Mike started hassling him about some of the information he'd posted online. Mike wasn't one of Dan's friends so he couldn't figure out how Mike might have seen the information.

Discussion Questions

  • What is a social media page?
  • What is a social media page for?
  • Do you have a social media page or do you know people who have a social media page?
  • Who can see it? Who can copy information on it?
  • What are "privacy settings"?
  • What is the standard (default) privacy setting on your site? (many are open to the whole world by default)
  • Have you changed your privacy settings to limit who can see information on your page and what they can do with it?
  • What age should you be before you should have a social networking page?
  • How can we use social networking to help our learning in the classroom?


  • Compile a list of different social networking sites
  • Create an infographic of the different sites and what they're used for, and how many people use them
  • Or different groups could research a particular site and do a poster - what does the site look like, what is it used for, how long has it been going, how many users does it have, how easy are its privacy settings to find and change
  • Create a mock-up (digital or hard copy) of a social networking page. Then add different types of information to it - eg name, address, phone number, age and date of birth, photos, location etc . With each piece of information, ask why am I putting this here, who will see it, what does it say about me, what could happen if someone sees it who I don't want to see it.
  • Research the history of online social networking - adults don't think it's been around that long, but for the students it may be nearly their lifetime!