This week marks the American Library Association‘s very first Choose Privacy Week!

But how are we choosing privacy,  and why now?

As the internet roots itself ever more firmly into every aspect of our lives, we have the ability to reach out to people and do things that would have been impossible just a few years ago, and more than that, we have it right at our fingertips!  But in the words of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

You’ve probably heard it before, but once something goes out on the internet, whether it’s through email, Facebook, or even a text message, it is OUT THERE.  Even bits of information and images sent out to trusted friends and kept in accounts locked under passwords have been known to escape in a world of forwards and Google caches.

So what can you do to defend yourself and your information?

The first thing you can do is to be responsible to yourself.  The recommendation that you “don’t do anything you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the New York Times” may be becoming a little outdated, but the message still stands as strongly as ever.  Never post or text anything that you wouldn’t want to show up in the cellphones and news feeds of your mother, grandmother, school principal and future employer, because once it gets out there, there is no stopping it.

The next thing you can do is to stay informed.  Read the terms of service of sites that you use instead of just “clicking through.”  You may be surprised what you read.

For more information, check out these resources:

The Federal Trade Commission’s “Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens”

That’ : Where do you draw your digital line?

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