Social Smarts: Nothing Personal! discussion guide
You can use Social Smarts: Nothing Personal! in your classroom to generate discussions about real-life situations to help young people learn to navigate online privacy risks. This graphic novel explores what happens when a girl is given her brother’s old phone and has to learn about some of the privacy concerns that can arise when using a mobile device. The graphic novel also covers topics such as data collection, targeted advertising, cybersecurity and online gaming.
Learning Goals / Big Ideas
Students will demonstrate the ability to:
- Explain why strategies like using pseudonyms online, clearing cookies, and using and protecting passwords can help mitigate risks to online privacy;
- Understand how data collected about them when they use Internet-connected devices can come back to haunt them;
- Explain why it can be very difficult to delete a picture or comment once it has been posted online;
- Make good choices about others’ privacy when using Internet-connected devices;
- Suggest strategies to better protect privacy and navigate privacy issues in the online world; and
- Learn to be aware of the potential privacy risks of new digital communications technologies, such as new social media apps and games.
Explain to students that every time they start using an Internet-connected device – like a smartphone or a tablet – they are connected to a network that includes every other connected device in the world. This brings a lot of cool opportunities, but it also means they have to make careful choices about what they share – and they have to be aware of what they may be sharing without even knowing it.
Distribute or share links to the graphic novel and explain that they’re going to see what can happen when someone gets a new phone – or rather someone else’s old phone. As students read the graphic novel, ask them to write down all of the ways in which Olive’s new phone affects her privacy or anyone else’s.
When all of the students have finished reading the graphic novel and finding privacy concerns, have the students share what they found. Make sure the following are included:
- Shopping sites tracked Nathan’s online activity.
- Olive’s post about Angela made people think she was quitting the soccer team. Sometimes even correct information can be misinterpreted and misused.
- Olive signed up with a streaming site using her real name.
- Olive had trouble deleting her account on the streaming site.
- Olive got a scam email looking for her password (you can mention this is called a “phishing” scam).
- Olive didn’t know if it was okay to use her real name on a library account.
Now list the five tips on the back cover of the graphic novel and ask students to match each of the privacy concerns in the list above to one of the tips:
- Protect your privacy with passwords: Olive got a scam email asking for her password.
- Remember that your posts and activity may not be private: Shopping sites tracked Nathan’s online activity; Olive saw ads based on something she bought.
- Respect your friends’ privacy: Olive’s post made people think Angela was quitting the soccer team.
- Protect your privacy by using a made-up name: Olive signed up with a streaming site using her real name.
- Ask a parent or guardian for help or permission: Olive didn’t know if it was okay to use her real name on a library account; Olive couldn’t delete her account on the streaming site.
Go through the tips and ask the students what Olive learned to do in the graphic novel to manage each kind of privacy risk:
- Protect your privacy with passwords:
Angela taught Olive that she shouldn’t share her password, and that hackers might try to get her password (page 9).
Further reading on passwords:
- Remember that things you post may not be private:
Olive learns to be careful about what she posts or shares because even if you delete information, others may have copied and shared it (page 3).
Olive learns that some sites may collect and keep information about her and that she can clear her browser’s cookies to avoid targeted ads (page 11).
Further reading and resources on privacy settings and about how online information can be difficult to remove:
- Respect your friends’ privacy:
Olive learns to ask someone’s permission before posting something about them (page 5).
Further reading about young people and online reputation:
- Protect your privacy by using a made-up name:
Olive learned that it’s a good idea to use a made-up name on some accounts (page 7).
- Ask a parent or guardian for help or permission:
Olive asked her mom if it was okay to use her real name on her library account (page 6).
Olive gets help from her mother to delete her account on the streaming site (page 9).
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