Orcutt Academy High School News and Event

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Private Lives In The Public Eye

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Here at OAHS, privacy does not appear to be a priority to either administration or students. Due to a society that thrives on the wildfire spread of information and images, very little that we as individuals say or do will escape public view. While this may feel threatening, it is merely something to adjust to, not to fight.

An example of the lack of “privacy” given to students here at Orcutt Academy is the recently installed security cameras. An inside source revealed that not only was the staff not consulted beforehand, they were not notified either. The cameras are located throughout the campus as a means to prevent crime such as vandalism. However, they do not affect the students in a major way. A situation involving vandalism on campus was dealt with over spring break without the necessity of camera footage. This goes to show that even though the administration has access to viewing the happenings around campus, we as students are not being actively “watched”.

The real culprit when it comes to the invasion of personal privacy are social media users. Today’s technology allows for images, footage and opinions to be shared in moments with any given number of peers and followers. According to the Oxford dictionary, the phrase “going viral” didn’t exist 30 years ago and now describes a daily occurrence of someone’s post expanding beyond the individual’s typical range of influence. To some, the idea that our words and actions are no longer limited to affecting those directly around us is frightening. Indeed there are instances of private conversations or interactions that, due to mishandling of social media, become public information. When a teacher does something funny or even out of character, students are quick to grab their phones and document this. Events that used to be between a teacher and a classroom now become an eternally captured and contained on YouTube, Instagram, or stored in  someone’s cloud. This is exemplified daily in the news as the “private lives” of celebrities and public figures are picked apart and scrutinized. Even here at OA rumors spread like the plague largely due to social media.

So what is the solution? Should we all turn our cell phones off and close our eyes to what happens around us? Should we live solitary lives and avoid any self-expression that might lead to public scrutiny. Of course not. Technology is an intricate part of this generation’s lives and the attitude towards privacy that comes with social platforms is one that can be used for good just as easily as evil. The best thing we can do is to respect those around us and accept that our influence expands further than is visible to the eye.

We must feel free to express ourselves and accept that others will react and express themselves in the same way. Self – expression is the driving force of society. Of course, social media takes the cake as the media platform on which most of this “expression” takes place. And, as many have learned the hard way, there is nothing private about a public platform. Rather than shying away from the seemingly glaring “spotlight” that is directed on each one of us, we should accept that unless we seclude ourselves from society completely, there is no viable option but to accept that what we do in a public setting or platform will be viewed, scrutinized, and even shared by others.


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Orcutt Academy High School News and Event
Private Lives In The Public Eye