Online tracking – you’re being watched!

What happens when you are online?

The filter bubble
The filter bubble (Photo credit: mirindas27)

I recently read the FIlter Bubble, how the personalized web is changing what we read and how we think by Eli Pariser. It’s a book I’ve been planning to read for a long time and a topic we are addressing in the book we are writing in English class this semester. My English class is writing a book about using social media to connect and learn.

More and more schools are equipping all the teachers and students with laptops or other devices and searching the net is one of the main activities when looking for information. The questions we should be asking ourselves are; do we teaching our students how to be net-smart, how to specify their searches and teach them where to look? Do we talk about online tracking and how advertising companies can track what you view? And perhaps even more importantly; do we offer any thoughts to what kind of information we share on social media and how it is used? Facebook user share 25 billion items a month! Who owns this material, who owns the pictures you post? What happens when you delete the picture, what if someone already copied it?When you ask your students to be on Facebook you need to know how Facebook works! These are some of the questions we should be asking in class and these are some of the topics we cover in the book we are writing. For more info about the book see here. We are inviting educational experts, teachers and students from all parts of the world to offer their opinion and answer some questions, we would love to hear from you as well!

The Filter bubble

First of all the filter bubble surrounds us with ideas with which we’re already familiar (and already agree), making us overconfident in our mental frameworks Second it removes from our environment some of the key prompts that make us want to learn. The filter bubble doesn’t just affect how we process news, it can also affect how we think. “Learning is by definition an encounter with what you don’t know, what you haven’t thought of, what you couldn’t conceive, and what you never understood or entertained as possible. This kind of filter that Google interposes between an internet searcher and what a search yields shields the searcher from such radical encounters. The personalized environment is very good at answering the questions we have but not at suggesting questions or problems that are out of our sight altogether It brings to mind the famous Pablo Picasso quotation: “computers are useless They can only give us answers”. Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble.

What should you do?

This infographic below explains what happens when you search online and offers 4 actions you might take:

  1. Install an ad blocker
  2. Change your cookie settings
  3. Turn off referers
  4. Install HTTPS everywhere.


Online Tracking: You're Being Watched

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  1. Does it strike anyone else as ironic that WordPress is suggesting: “Be the first to like this.” ?

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