Sheila Riley’s TechLearning article from this week, “9 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft,” provides a concise overview of a VERY important topic that teachers, administrators, students, and everyone else alive and breathing in our 21st century society should not only be aware of– but also proactive about. The tips she elaborates on include:

  1. Know what ID theft is and how it takes place.
  2. Assign someone to the role of chief information security officer.
  3. Pay attention to passwords.
  4. Conduct ongoing training.
  5. Give employees specific suggestions.
  6. Keep on top of standard tech precautions.
  7. Consider all sources of sensitive information.
  8. Think about addressing social networking sites.
  9. Shred, shred, shred.

My main editorial to add to this list concerns #8. There should be NO QUESTION about schools proactively addressing digital social networking at school with students, and with parents. Are we going to prepare kids for the real world, or bury our heads in the sand and pretend the non-blocked Internet sites outside the district’s content filter don’t exist at all? We MUST help kids learn to safely and effectively use digital social networking environments. They are using them now, they will continue to use them in the future, and without guideance (and even when it is provided, unfortunately) many will make poor choices in DSN environments. (Check out the stats if you don’t believe me!) We must do what we can to prepare students for the real world outside of the classroom.

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