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Aubree Bowman

EDUC 536: Technology for Learning

Professor McManus
March 27,2015
Digital Rights and Responsibilities: Invasion of Student Privacy Rights causes Issues
in Schools
In a society in which the use of technology is embedded into daily life, it is easy
to assume that most users of technology understand and respect the privacy rights of
others. As a digital citizen, members should practice Internet safety and abide by outlined
protection policies. In reality, our world is comprised of technology users, majority
adolescents, who are capable of using technology but do not understand the
responsibilities of this freedom. As schools encourage the integration of technology
within curriculum, few educators are prepared to teach students the issues of Internet
safety and ways to avoid them. Therefore, many students are unaware of their digital
privacy rights and subject themselves to compromising situations that can impact their
lives for years to come.

In the digital world, users should expect that if they post information to a site, others
will enjoy it without vandalizing it, passing it off as their own, or using it as a pretext to
threaten or harass. Students need to be given a clear understanding of the behavior that
is required of them to be members of a digital society.(Ribble, 2011)

It is the responsibility of not only the school technology department, but all
administrators and educators to teach students the importance of appropriate behavior in

the digital society. School districts should create clear technology policies, which outline
student privacy rights and consequences for inappropriate digital behavior. The Internet is
a powerful tool when used in a responsible manner, but it can also bring about many
dangerous risks.


Digital rights are those requirements and freedoms extended to everyone in the
digital world(Ribble,2011). Protection of privacy laws can be found in the First, Fourth,
Fifth and Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment. In 1998 the Childrens Online Privacy
Protection Act was passed, to safeguard children from privacy invasions by others
(Berson & Berson, 2006). This law prohibits websites, directed to children under thirteen,
from requiring children to provide personal information to access a website. In spite of
this, many adolescents continue to give out personal information through blogs, ejournals, promotional activities and social media applications. Focus USAs website
claims to have detailed information on 203 million people; the information is used to
create lists of Affluent Hispanics, First Time Credit Card Holders, New
Homeowners etc. ( Solove, 2004). Although many view this as an invasion of privacy,
websites continue to gather personal information data through directly soliciting data or
through tracking.

This concept of tracking users Internet activity has recently become an issue in
education as companies monitor students on social media. According to the New York

Times, Pearson Education has been monitoring social media to identify students who
might be leaking information about certain tests administered by the company, wrote
Natasha Singer. Many parents and privacy advocates argue that using student personal
information to monitor them on social media is an unfair and invasive practice.
Along with opponents of monitoring student Internet use are those who are
interested in exploring the use of technology to protect children. Some schools in Japan
and the United States have introduced the idea of student identification tags on name
badges, which track students when they are on school property. In certain amusement
parks and malls in the United States parents can rent wristbands, which track their
childrens location (Berson & Berson, 2006). According to law, there are no rules
prohibiting parents from using technology to monitor their children but the idea of using
this technology tracking in school is unsettling for many parents. What protections are
there for student privacy in school? Is it acceptable to use personal student information to
monitor them on social media?

In addition to personal privacy rights, students must be aware of the rights of

others and their responsibility to abide by acceptable use policies. As of age 13, children
in the United States are viewed as being able to legally make their own decisions when
communicating online. Any participation in cyber bullying, creations of false identity or
vandalism of others content can result in criminal charges (Pusey & Sadera, 2012). On
January 1,2015 Illinois state passed the Public Act 098-0129 which gives school
authorities the right to require a student to provide his/her social networking account
information if evidence shows students have violated a bullying or internet policy

(Illinois General Assembly, 2015). Students who fail to provide this information can face
school disciplinary consequences or criminal charges. The implementation of this law
will help schools to limit the amount of cyber bullying, but it also presents an issue of
student privacy.

Cyber safety, the actions individuals take to minimalize the danger they could
encounter when using the Internet, must be taught in schools. In order to inform students
of the possible dangers and their responsibilities, if students are taught to use the Internet
safely, schools will not feel the need to monitor students content online. In order for
students to benefit, teachers must also receive proper training throughout the school year.
In a recent study Portia Pusey and William A. Sadera, investigated the knowledge
preservice teachers had about Internet safety. The 318 preservice teachers reported weak
knowledge for 56% of the 75 topics on the questionnaire, including topics on Internet and
privacy laws (Pusey &Sadera, 2012). There is a great need for increased awareness of
the risks of online activities through federal government, education and community
partnerships (Cyberspace Policy Review, 2009). Teacher education programs and school
districts must prepare educators to teach about Internet safety and privacy rights so that
future students will practice appropriate and safe behaviors online.

What are the Implications for Education?

At Bloomfield High School, students must take responsibility for their decisions when
using technology to communicate. Many students partake in online shopping,
conversations on social networking sites and videotaping using applications like Snap
Chat. These online activities can be a positive aspect of technology or they can create
opportunities for privacy invasion. Often students are not aware of the consequences of
their online behavior or decisions. This is evident in the increased amount of in school
disputes between students which derive from a posts or comments made online. In our
school students need to develop a better understanding of their role and responsibilities as
digital citizens. Students should be aware of the various strategies websites use to gather
personal data information. Also, students should be aware of school acceptable use
policies as well as the purpose of the policies. These policies were created to protect all
students and any violation including; participation in cyber bullying, creations of false
identity or vandalism of others content can result in criminal charges. To begin this
process, teachers in our district need to be prepared to teach about Internet safety and
privacy rights through helpful professional development. Our district encourages the use
of technology and as we integrate its use into our curriculum, we must also teach students
how to use the technology appropriately.

Works Cited

Berson, M., & Berson, I. (2006). Children and Their Digital Dossiers:
Lessons in Privacy Rights in the Digital Age, 13-13. Retrieved March 18,
2015, from
Cyberspace Policy Review. (2009, March 7). Retrieved March 20, 2015,
Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 098-0801. (2015,
January 1). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
Pearson Under Fire for Monitoring Students' Twitter Posts. (2015, March
17). Retrieved March 19, 2015, from
Pusey, P., & Sadera, W. (2012). Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and
Cybersecurity. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 82-85.
Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools (2nd ed.). Eugene, Or.:
International Society for Technology in Education.
Solove, D. (2004). The digital person technology and privacy in the
information age. New York: New York University Press.