Viral pictures of politicians highlight dangers of revealing more than intended online - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 23 September

On her wedding day, Alice Sheffield would have been entirely within her rights to expect to be the centre of attention.


Viral pictures of politicians highlight dangers of revealing more than intended online

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 23 September


Stephen Exley

On her wedding day, Alice Sheffield would have been entirely within her rights to expect to be the centre of attention.

But a family photo of the bride-to-be smiling with a glass of champagne just hours before the ceremony ended up going viral due to her brother-in-law being pictured in the background, taking a nap on a four-poster hotel bed.

While this may not sound to be too interesting in its own right, users of photo-sharing app Instagram who viewed the image were shocked to spot that the sleeping guest was none other than David Cameron. The British Prime Minister could clearly be seen dozing barefoot on the bed, curled up next to a red box of ministerial paperwork.

What was supposed to be an intimate family moment photographed by Alice’s sister Emily ended up being viewed thousands of times and attracting international media attention. And it also serves to illustrate the risk of rashly or accidentally sharing content online.

This is just the latest example of a social media user being embarrassed after revealing too much information through websites such as Twitter and Facebook. As countless stories about people losing their jobs due to their use of social media reveal, the risks are high. Teachers in particular have been warned about the dangers of publishing anything online that could prove to be incriminating or uncomfortable for them or their employer.

After unwittingly embarrassing the Prime Minister, Emily posted an apology on Twitter, calling herself an “idiot” and admitting that she had not intended the photo to be seen by so many people.

“Ok so I am the idiot today,” she wrote. “For the record I had 8 followers when posted, all family and friends, then forgot to remove it #amateur.”

But Mr Cameron, though, can be grateful that he wasn’t left quite as exposed as Swedish MP Lars Ohly. Earlier this year, the former leader of the country’s Left Party – who is a devoted supporter of Liverpool Football Club – proudly posted a photo on Instagram of a new tattoo of the Liver bird on his leg.

Unfortunately, he revealed far more than he intended: his genitals were clearly visible in the background of the photo.

He later tweeted: “Summer’s wonderful. The willy picture is today’s hot topic. Completely by accident, though. The future will see a more thorough uploading review process.”


Questions

1.) Which, if any, social media sites do you use?
2.) Make a list of the dangers and pitfalls associated with social media.
3.) What precautions should you take to make sure that you stay safe online?
4.) How could we raise awareness about the internet safety within our school?


Related resources


Young people and social networking sites

  • Check out Childnet International's guide for teachers, parents and carers on how to talk to young people about staying safe online.

Internet safety display

  • A handy list of rules on how children and young people can stay safe online and protect their privacy.

Right to privacy

  • A PowerPoint resource looking at the right to privacy, using the USA as an example.

Digital rights

  • These resources give teachers and pupils the opportunity to talk about the digital rights of young people.

Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


Millions of people will, with luck, be behaving more peacefully to one another on Saturday to mark the International Day of Peace, which aims to promote ceasefires and non-violence across the world.

Grand Theft Auto V became the fastest-selling computer game in history, generating £500 million of sales worldwide on its first day of release.

New research suggests that learning a musical instrument could improve your ability to read.

Next year, legislation allowing same-sex marriage will be enacted in England, Scotland and Wales. But despite growing levels of public support for gay rights, a culture of homophobia still exists in sport, particularly football.



In the news archive index