How Can We Protect Our Private Information From Others?

1726 words - 7 pages

During my brother’s freshman year at TCU, he made the decision to join ROTC, a college military program that TCU offered its’ students in which the students would receive a full tuition scholarship if they joined. However, my brother did not want to disclose this information to our whole family and unfortunately I was unaware of this when my mother and I arrived at TCU for an unexpected visit. Upon the arrival of my mother and me, I fortuitously made the mistake of revealing my brother’s decision to join ROTC, which as a result enraged my mother to a new height. She was infuriated with the fact that my brother kept this important information from her. Due to this unintentional spilling of my brother’s private information, it took him a long time for him to conceal his private information to me and to trust me with his secrets. Conversely, through the research I have conducted on Sandra Petronio’s Communication Privacy Management Theory, I have gained helpful insight about realizing that there are certain boundaries and rules when others self-disclose and it is my duty to know and understand these boundaries and rules to appease the chance of “boundary turbulence.” If I had known the central premise of this theory before revealing my brother’s private information, I could have come to the conclusion that it would not be in mine or my brother’s best interest to reveal to my mother that he was in the ROTC program. The Communication Privacy Management theory is as Petronio states “as a map of the way people navigate privacy” and gives the necessary steps of how one must set and coordinate certain privacy rules with their co-owner, in order for the owner to feel that they have complete control of who gets to know their private information and to prevent commotion.
Summary of Communication Privacy Management Theory
Petronio asserts the ideas that people are inherently pressured to conceal and reveal certain private information to others while still feeling as if we are in complete control of our information. She addresses the “complexities of privacy regulation [and the need] for a systematic way to grasp how privacy management operates” (Petronio, 2010). Through Communication Privacy Management Theory, Petronio explains the way in which we coordinate our need to self-disclose to others with certain boundaries and regulations. If we decide to self-disclose with others, the person we self-disclose to becomes a confidant, or in other words becomes a “co-owner of the private information” (Griffin, 2006). There then becomes a need in which these “co-owners” must establish and “negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules [and defined boundaries] about telling others” of a third party about the said private information” (Griffin, 2006). Petronio theorizes that boundary privacy rules are determined on the basis of five components in which she calls it a rules-based management system. Our culture, gender characteristics, the context in which the...

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