In a society where digital identities are a huge part of one’s self-identity, I, as a future educator must understand the good and the bad of social media and know how to teach my future students the importance of creating a positive digital identity.
To start this assignment, I decided to do a quick google search on cases where digital harassment led to death. The number of cases that popped up was huge! But, sadly I was not surprised.
This one simple google search gave me 12,400,00 results. I flipped through lots of the pages to see how accurate the sites stayed to my search and it was sadly accurate. This simple google search really puts things into perspective for me. Education of social media and digital identities needs to be taught in the classroom!
I grew up with technology, getting my first social media account at the age of 14, the prime age where uneducated teens start posting. At the time I never thought of the dangers, or the positives it was to have a social media account, I just got it because that’s what all my friends were doing. I am now 18 years old and understand how important it is to keep a positive digital identity, even when you are just a young teenager. In my school and at home, technology was rarely used, so it was rarely talked about. We never took a class or a unit on the safeties of digital identities, I mean I did not really fully understand what a digital identity and digital footprint were until starting EDTC300! My lack of knowledge could have caused some serious consequences to my young self, luckily it never happened, however, who is to say it couldn’t?
Teaching positive digital identities can not just come from the child’s home. Teachers and schools must also incorporate these safe teachings throughout their subjects and the school years. We can not solely depend on the parents to teach their children, because we need to recognize that all children come from different homes. Some will be taught the importance of a positive digital identity, and some will not be taught! In the article, “How to Help Your Child Build and Maintain a Positive Digital Identity,” Devishobha Ramanan gives some key strategies and points to help you successfully teach your children to have a positive digital identity. A key strategy that she suggested that I really liked was the strategy of creating a positive image of your own digital identity. Children learn by watching, and as a parent or educator students constantly are looking up to you. If we want to successfully teach our children how to build a positive digital identity, we must also listen to our words and do the same!
I personally do not think we can ever fully protect students from social media and digital harassment. There are people out in the digital world who look for a target and take action, no matter how protected your social media accounts are, no matter how positive your digital identity is. However, like mentioned in yesterday’s class educators can teach their students how to keep a positive digital identity and educate them that you still have control over your account, and there are ways to keep your online presence safe. Instead of discouraging the use of social media to our students, we need to embrace all that an online presence can do for our students learning and future!
“Facebook doesn’t curtail the offline but depends on it. What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off. The Web has everything to do with reality.” ~Nathan Jurgenson~
The quote above was pulled from one of the assigned readings for this week’s class, “The IRL Fetish.” This quote explains the importance of understanding that the physical world and the digital world are interrelated. They are combined together, so when you think you are getting away from online, your not. This is another important lesson children must understand. Once logged in, you lose a sense of privacy that you once had before your social media account.
My first thought when I was introduced to digital identities and educating your students in the classroom about creating positive digital identities I thought to myself “oh I don’t have to worry about that, I will be teaching younger kids.” I was wrong, mentioned by Alec Couros in a presentation he made to our class, Couros stated that many children have thousands of pictures uploaded to the internet before they reach the age of 5. In an article, I found that studies the importance of a positive digital identity, they suggest that the best time to start teaching about digital identities is the last two years of primary schooling, my teaching will still fall into that position! Understanding now how young children get involved in the online world puts things into perspective that in this society, we are all connected to the world wide web!
To conclude, throughout this assignment I have had my eyes opened regarding digital identities. I have not only learned about my personal identity but also the importance of educating my future students on the importance of digital identities! This was a very rewarding and informative lesson!
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” ~Margaret Mead~
Check out my fellow classmate’s thoughts on this topic!
Amber: A Cautionary Tale of Digital Identity
Aurora: The On- and Off-Line World
Crystal: Digital Identity in the Age of the Internet