Activity 4c: Online Environments and the Right to Privacy

Social networking makes immediate and information-rich communication possible between individuals and groups around the world. It is a great way to keep connected with friends and family. However, critics of social networking argue that people are increasing their level of personal risk by publishing profiles and personal information on the web.

Students are asked to explore the potential risks of social networking and consider their own participation. They then produce a resource listing the ways in which users can reduce the risks associated with social networking. 


e Resources

Task 1 

Read the online articles, Facebook Users: Trading Privacy for Friends on the ABC News website and Do Social Network Sites Genuinely Care About Privacy? from the United Kingdom’s The Guardian website. 

Consider and record your responses to the following questions:

  • How important is the ‘right to privacy’ to you?

  • What are some of the risks of social networking?

  • How serious do you think the risks are?

  • What do you do to keep yourself safe online? 

Now identify 20 students from your school who use online social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Ask them to complete a survey about their online habits. What kind of users are they? What do they post? How often do they use social networking? Do they have concerns about publishing personal information online? Do they know how to protect their privacy? Find out if they have ever felt uncomfortable with or offended by communication or approaches to them on a social networking site.

The Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online has information about the safe use of social networking websites. Record the key messages described. 

Task 2

Download the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart: Socialising on the Internet. Use the guide as a model for creating your own brochure to educate others about how to protect themselves and their privacy on social networking sites. You might like to create your brochure using an online publishing tool such as formatpixel or LetterPop

Assessment Task

Use an online search engine, such as Google, to research a current news story about each of the three categories of human rights: civil, political and social. Reuters is an international news service based in the United Kingdom that provides reports from around the world to newspapers and television and radio broadcasters. 

Type each of the following into a search engine to find at least one news story about each category of human rights: 

  • Reuters + ‘civil rights’

  • Reuters + ‘political rights’

  • Reuters + ‘social rights’ 

Prepare a blog or a wiki for one of the articles, commenting on:

  • the right(s) involved

  • the issue involved 

  • why the issue is being raised or in dispute

  • your own opinions on the issue.

Tools for helping students prepare a blog or wiki are available on the internet. See for example edublogs and Wikispaces.  

Assessment Criteria

  • identifying an appropriate issue for each category of rights

  • identifying the human right involved in the issue

  • clear explanation of the issue

  • consideration of all important matters in giving your own view. 


Activity 4a | Activity 4b | Activity 4c

For the teacher | Human Rights Introduction4: How Do We Preserve and Improve Human Rights? 

Overview of activities:  Focus Question 4