Tech Tip Friday – what’s public mean?

Nov 14, 2014 Categories: cyber-safety, Tech-Tip-Friday

***Each Friday we share a quick tip for computer and Internet use. It might be something to do with your kids, or something to explore or learn about this weekend. It might be serious (think cyber-safety or internet hacking prevention) or just plain fun. If there’s a topic you’d like to see, leave us a comment below***

Do your kids know the difference between Public and Private and what it means online?

I’ve found that often kids don’t really get the difference. They might know that online means to everyone, but because they post from their phone or their laptop, in their own time, from their own space (that they think is safe) to their own social media pages, they forget who will see what they are sharing.

I know we often have other conversations about ‘private’ things – especially talking about stranger danger and things like talking to people at the shops. Our kids know that they wouldn’t just walk up to someone in Coles and announce their name, where they live and what they are going to be doing tonight – BUT they do that online all the time!

They’ll post an Instagram photo, with the location and say

“Footy game tonight, here’s my uniform” (with club name showing) or “great sleepover at Sam’s, now I’ve got to walk home, but going to Kmart on the way” (and in the comments are their arrangements about when and where they are meeting a friend)

TMI – too much info. Of course.

Public or Private info online cybersafety kids online

So, this week’s Tech Tip is “Talk to your kids about what’s private online and what’s not”

It’s not quite that easy though – as a rule of thumb, anything you post online is public. Even if it’s behind passwords – they can be hacked. And even if it’s on an app like SnapChat* – people can take screenshots of your photos or posts and then share them anyway… But there are ways to be safer.

So, the conversation this weekend should be about what it’s ok to share and what’s not.

Do you need to actually use the location feature to show where you are – or will your friends know anyway (so strangers or ‘friends of friends’ don’t know)

What are you actually sharing? Is it NECESSARY – or can you save it for a face to face chat?

Can it be seen in another way? Is that sarcastic comment actually clearly sarcastic? If not – rephrase it, so you don’t upset someone. Or again – save it for a face to face chat.


While things might appear Private online, they aren’t or at least might not stay that way. Best not to post things you don’t want seen widely.

What’s going on at your house this weekend? Hope you are enjoying some quieter time before the season of madness fully begins!

*SnapChat, if you’re not sure, is an app that lets kids send messages and photos and then pretty much instantly deletes them. It’s designed so people can’t see what you’ve sent or what you’ve received. Can get a bit dirty. Think your kids might be using it? Best have a chat about using it and the point above – screenshots make the whole thing so much less safe.


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