Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Social Networking Sites

Unpublished letter to the Sunday Telegraph


The Archbishop of Westminster’s comments [Sunday Telegraph – 02/08/2009] on the perils of social networking sites are misdirected.

Most young people are highly skilled communicators who have a sophisticated network of friends and acquaintances. Many, however, are naïve about the dangers of the adult world. Young people have a totally different attitude to privacy from all previous generations. When they meet new people on social networking sites, for example, they routinely disclose their life story in a single mouse click, disgorging enormous amounts of personal information and photographs to relative strangers. What is more, they do it in a digital format that is easy to store, share and publish.

Rather than despairing of the youth of today, parents, schools and even clergy have a responsibility to ensure that young people have the requisite skills to navigate the digital landscape safely and to protect their personal information.

Mark S. Steed
Principal, Berkhamsted School, Herts
Chairman, Independent Schools Council ICT Strategy Group.

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