Students take part in seminar on privacy at Nashua North
Students from Bedford, Milford and Exeter this month joined a group of students at Nashua High North for “When Privacy meets the First Amendment: Social Media, the Constitution and You” a seminar on privacy rights, risks and protections. The event was sponsored by Constitutionally Speaking, a community outreach program launched by the University of New Hampshire Law School, the state Supreme Court and the NH Humanities Council to get people of all ages thinking and talking about constitutional issues, and to support civics education in local schools.
She said that teens see coupons that show up unexpectedly in their email as a benefit. “But they don’t necessarily like the idea of Target selling their information to credit agencies or other businesses.”
Katie Husang, a senior at Bedford High, said privacy, social media and responsible use are part of a perpetual conversation at her school. “It comes up in our classes a lot so it’s something kids are aware of,” she said. “When you use those sites, you have to be aware of how what you say could affect you.”
Facebook membership has been slipping and some tech experts have said the site’s casual attitude toward privacy is partly to blame. Students have other reasons for logging off for good.
Sibley also senses the chill, and attributed it partly to privacy breaches that have given new life to old posts and photos that students now realize are trailing them as they grow older.
Students also worry about government data mining and surveillance but Sibley said they don’t feel they can do anything about it, particularly at this stage in their lives.
“Students react, not so much with anger, they just shake their heads and say, ’Really,’” he said.
But, Alcox said high school seniors today were four or five years old on 9/11. They grew up with Homeland Security and a gradual erosion of privacy rights as the new normal.
But that’s the point of the Constitutionally Speaking series, “We the People,” and other programs that are ramping up civics education.
And in New Hampshire where politics never sleeps, understanding government and individual rights is empowering.
Alcox has made Milford High a perennial winner in the “We the People” competitions where students participate in mock congressional hearings in front of a panel of legal experts and elected officials.
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