• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy

What will people think of you if you post this?

Key Messages

  • Take care what you put online - it may be seen by people whom you don’t expect to see it
  • Internet activity is permanent - what you put up now will still be there in the future. Future employers and family can view your online activity.
  • What may seem funny now, may not be in the future.
  • You might delete something, but if it has been copied and reposted it’s still available for others to see
  • Search engines will continue to show links where your name has been involved, even after you have deleted it.
  • Reputation is important - what values are you conveying when you post something?
  • You leave footprints everywhere you go. Even on the Internet! Your footprints are the words and pictures you post. If someone else posts something with your name on it, that's your footprint too.

Illustrating the topic

  • Stories:
  • A is creating a website about her pro-drinking views. She thinks that teenagers should be able to drink alcohol from 13 onwards. Her website includes many photos of her with alcohol as well as her friends at various parties drinking. All of them are illegally consuming alcohol as they are all underage.

  • B has a social networking site and hasn’t protected it, so the public can see it. She has many photographs of herself making silly faces as well as photographs of her trespassing through disused buildings with warning signs, with a group of friends she shares this ‘hobby’ with. Her friends have posted photos of them doing this, and have tagged B in them.

  • C has posted stuff on YouTube for all to see. She has dressed up in her mother’s clothes and is pretending to be her teacher. She is saying stuff that her teacher would never say, and is certainly not acting in a way her teacher does.

  • D has become angry about the lack of skateboarding parks in his area. He joins an online blog where he vents his frustration, using a lot of swear words and misinformation. Six months later he discovers there is in fact a skateboarding park planned for his suburb, the council were simply waiting for the funding to come through. D does not revisit the blog to delete his posts.

Discussion Questions

  • Which internet sites allow others to copy your information and repost it?
  • How long can your posts stay on the internet? What happens if you post pictures or videos on the Internet and then change your mind later and want to take them down?
  • Who might get to see the information you’ve put up about yourself?
  • What do you think of the media using internet information and photographs in their articles?
  • What would a digital citizen do if they wanted to post a picture that has a friend in it?
  • How and where is a hashtag (#) used? (a hash tag is simply a way for people to pass on links to what others are talking about very quickly - Twitter and now Facebook are using this).


  • Watch http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/first2amillion/ as a class and vote on the different paths that can be taken...this activity is a strong illustrator of what can seem funny at first, can result in consequences that are difficult to retract. Set an hour aside for this as it will generate a lot of discussion and interest, particularly how you can see how easily this could happen. View before showing your class to decide if it is appropriate.
  • Talk Show Interview. After the video, divide the class into groups, with four people in each group representing the main characters in the story and one representing a television talk show host. The talk show host interviews the characters. Include questions such as, ‘but why didn’t you stop there?’ and ‘how did you feel at that point?’ etc.
  • Hot seat the characters. After watching the feedback about each of the four main characters at the end of the story, form groups of four - decide who represents each character (Jamal, Tariq, Meg or Aleeya) and ‘hot seat’ each for 2 - 3 minutes. Ask questions about how they felt at the beginning and then how their feelings changed as the online ‘jokes’ progressed.
  • Draw a flow chart of how things spiralled out of control.
  • Create an advertisement about who to turn to for help if a similarly uncomfortable situation happens to you. http://www.theorb.org.nz/ is one suggestion. Outline the importance sharing with someone you trust instead of ignoring it and hoping it will go away, because it won’t.
  • Watch http://www.ted.com/talks/juan_enriquez_how_to_think_about_digital_tattoos.html?qsha=1&utm_expid=166907-23
  • Create a skit or rap/song or picture illustrating something you would avoid having as ‘permanent ink’ on the internet.