Research tells us that kids like talking on the Net because it
gives them more privacy. After all, most moms don’t read
MSN-speak (omg, r u 4 real?? wat do u meen??)
But online communication isn’t the same thing as talking in your
own room – even if
you’re in your own room when you’re instant messaging.
Whenever you go online, someone can watch you. Your computer
logs your MSN chat, cookies record where you’ve been and what
you’ve done there, invisible web beacons embedded in emails you
receive track your comings and goings.
That doesn’t mean you should stop talking online. What it
does mean is that we need to start thinking about privacy
differently. We all know we say different things to different
people. That’s because privacy is one of the ways we manage
our social identities – the different roles we play, like student,
son or daughter, friend, volunteer, employee. Try talking to your
boss or a police officer the same way you talk to your little
sister – chances are, you’re not going to like what
Privacy is all tied up in our sense of identity and how we interact
with other people. We negotiate our privacy by revealing
different things to different people in different
circumstances. But when we talk online, what we say can be
taken out of context. And that has consequences.
This lesson looks at what happens when Emma, a student at Elmvale
High School, talks with her friends on MSN about their English
teacher, Mr. Nickel. But before we get there, we listen in on
Emma as she waits for her mom to pick her up from school for a
doctor’s appointment. Your job is to take note of how Emma’s
story changes slightly, depending on who she’s talking to (or, as
Mr. Nickel would say, to whom she is talking).
Start by reading the handout Just the Facts Ma’am and then watch the various video
clips on the Scenarios page. Use the Whodunit Investigation
Sheet to record what you learn.