torsdag 21. april 2011


In this post I will write about one of the communication patterns in Hoem and Schwebs’ excellent book Tekst 2 null. They have created a model for understanding the communication patterns of the Internet, which I find very useful. Since I am a teacher I have tried to look at what is important for children in school to learn about registration on the Internet.

Registration means that individual users produce content which is distributed and consumed by information centers (Hoem and Schwebs 2010). One consequence is that we leave tracks behind when we are online. Two examples of registration is when we search the Internet for information, and when we register to get a Google account.

As mentioned above, one way of registration is by searching the Internet. Children have to know that when they search the Internet with Google, the information centre (in this case Google) can collect more information about them. Google locates the computer and then stores the information in what is called data warehouses (Djik 2010). Djik mentions that the next step may then be data-mining, which is “the extraction of implicitly present, formerly unknown, but potentially usable information from data” (Djik 2010 p. 116). Google may claim that they are using this information to create better products for us, but it could also be used for commercial purposes. There is also a risk of other people and information centres getting this information and using it for other purposes.

Another problem is phishing, which means trying to get sensitive information by pretending to be trustworthy. An example could be a website that looks like your regular bank, but uses the information you register to get credit card details. In my opinion phishing is mainly a problem for older children who have credit cards, but we know that phishing is also being used to get usernames and passwords, which also younger kids have.

Djik (2010) mentions that EU has strict rules about personal data protection. The new data retention directive is a part of this. In Norway the directive was introduced this year, and for us that means that all information may be stored for 6 to 24 months. It may be used for fighting crime, and providing a safer society. I won’t discuss the pros and cons of the directive, but the directive is something children should know about; it is important knowledge about our society.

They need to be aware that when they register on a website, they give away information to other people. If they register for online games, they leave behind sensitive information like their name, birth date, where they live and their main interests. Even if they are young, they still have digital dossiers which expands simultaneously with their Internet activities. When they use Google docs in school they give away information to Google. It is the same when they register for use of other teaching tools like Cacoo or Glogster. They may also voluntarily participate in market research and surveys, providing information centers with data. The information left behind could be used for commercialized purposes, like advertisements and products.They should learn to be critical of giving away information and instead try to maintain their privacy. One way to achieve this is to look at the texts on the Internet and know how and when they are giving up information by registering.
I`m ending this post with two YouTube videos also suited for children about Internet safety and privacy:


Djik, Jan van. The network society. London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2010
Hoem, Jon og Ture Schwebs. Tekst2null, Nettsamtalenes spillerom. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2010

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