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Monday, May 19, 2008

Online aliases: The new privacy

Young people are increasingly finding the need to put up firewalls between private and public online lives. They're "assuming online aliases" on social-networking sites "to avoid the prying eyes of parents, college recruiters, potential employers, and other overly interested strangers," the Washington Post reports. "They are also being more selective in who they allow in as 'friends' by paring back the size of their social circles" or friend lists. As well, they're increasingly fictionalizing parts of their profile and blog personas so associations with their real-life identities aren't as quickly or easily made. All this is good. It's a sign that teens have various means of self-protection online - not just social sites' privacy features. It's also a sign young people are employing critical thinking at a time when it has never been needed more. Critical thinking is the sort of "filter" that can only improve, and it goes with them everywhere, offline as well as online!

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