What should I do…?

I did a lot of reading related to the questions that were posted this week.  It made me realize how little attention I pay to my digital footprint.  I never really gave it much thought in the past, as it had really never come up.  Like so many others, I started using the Internet and the cyberspace universe more as tools for my down time more than tools for work.  The readings made me realize how much more I have to pay attention to my digital footprint.  However, what makes me apprehensive is how much more attention I have to pay to my students and my own kid’s digital footprints.

I was talking to our ITC coach about this issue and one statement he said really stood out.  He said “the digital world is the first technology where kids have learned how to use it before adults”.  Young people today are so comfortable with technology today and as we have seen, adults have hesitated with it and in some ways the kids have left us behind.  So if we are not all able to keep up with them, then how do we properly monitor their digital footprint and teach proper cybercitizenship as well?

Now this is the part that gets me nervous.  What happens when things go too far and my children or students get in trouble with what they have been doing on the Internet?

Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up gives some eye opening examples of what can go wrong.  In a world where bullying can now be anonymous and new identities easily assumed, how do I go about preparing for it and what do I do when and if it really happens? These are important questions, but they don’t necessarily have some clear and defined answers.  Each incident that comes up will have different answers because there will be so many variables.  I worry that I will not be able to handle those situations or be knowledgeable enough to either help or deal with my own kids, my students and their parents.

The best thing to do is just take another step forward and start learning about it.  It is the  logical thing to do as I have already taken that initial step forward in wanting to learn about education and technology.  I read Stop Cyberbullying: What’s the Parent’s Role in This?, Schools Can Help Protect Children From Cyberbullying, and Safe and Sound; Strategies or Cybersafety.  I have also talked to our ICT at school and our guidance counsellors.  All this gives me a start; enough of one so I don’t feel so uncomfortable with the negative side of a digital footprints and how to help when things go wrong.  The big thing I have to remember is that in being a digital citizen, I have to be willing share and teach my students and kids what I  learn about it as well as. That’s what I should be doing.


Both pictures used are creative commons photographs


3 responses to “What should I do…?

  1. I like your personal reflection as a parent in here 🙂 I’m a parent too and have to remind myself about what this mean for our kids at home. Saying ‘I trust my child when they’re online’, may not be enough, seeing as being online is as easy as having a mobile device (phone, iPad) with Internet access.

    I think you’re right in finding out more about the issues – It’s our moral obligation to be informed of the potential as well as the possible issues of digital citizenship.
    “Just as we prepare our children for road safety and stranger danger, so too must we prepare them for a lifetime of being online.” http://ictpd-digital-citizenship-at-home.wikispaces.com/Parents+in+the+21st+Century

    Parents might think they are being proactive about cybersafety, but what caught my eye, was a study which showed 87% parents say they have established rules for their kids Internet use when 36% of the children/young people said their parents or guardians had NOT made rules for their use of the Internet. A bit of a miss match here. http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/01158/home.html

    Just as important as knowing about the issues, is having some simple strategies to deal with them.

    Some great tips for parents and a survey to ask your child can be found @

    Defining the online issues for parents can be found here:

    Suggested ways to manage online safety can be found @

    Ideas on ways to set up safe access to the Internet at home can be found here:


  2. After reading Tessa’s response to my posting I got to thinking some more about digital footprints. It is really so easy to focus on the negative aspects of them. You hear all kinds of horror stories about what can happen. We as parents and teachers are rightfully nervous. The last thing we want is for something bad to happen. However, as much as we teach about the dangers of digital citizenship and how to be safe on the Internet, it is equally as important to talk to and show our kids and students the positives aspects of their digital footprints. This will go a long way to serving our children and students in the future.

    In the article Positive Digital Footprints, William M. Ferriter says:

    “One of my worst fears as [my children] grow older is that they won’t be Googled well. … that when a certain someone (read: admissions officer, employer, potential mate) enters “Tess Richardson” into the search line of the browser, what comes up will be less than impressive. That a quick surf through the top five hits will fail to astound with examples of her creativity, collaborative skills, and change-the-world work. Or, even worse, that no links about her will come up at all.”

    In the not too distant future, being Googled and not having any hits is going to be a sign that one is not connected. It may mean that you are isolated and not have the digital presence or experiences to cope with the realities of the day. Having a well rounded digital profile will only lead our students and children to more opportunities and will open lots of doors.

    So how do they get a positive digital profile. William M. Ferriter talks about developing their profile around helping a cause that they accept. I think these causes can come from school in the form of class activities, joining a club and working towards a goal, doing community service through a church group or doing some outreach work in the local community. The byproduct of these kind of activities is that the children are learning. They are learning through their engagement of social media and form positive relationship and online networks that eventually can come to define who they are and what they believe in. This is not the only way of developing their digital profile. Other ways can come from just from “messing around and hanging out” or finding an activity such as digital photography and diving in.

    In the end, I think it is important to strike a balance between the negative and positive aspects of digital digital citizenship. Showing our students and children the impact of both is important. Nurturing and guiding them with the proper tools can open the doors to what they need to be successful in the digital world.

    Here are some other articles I found related to building a positive digital footprint.

    Positive and Negative Digital Footprints…
    Digital Footprint
    The power of a positive digital footprint for students

  3. I’m glad you went back and looked at the potential positives to having a digital footprint – ultimately, that was one of the key points from this week’s readings. When we talk about a digital footprint, we mean the online reflection/representation of you, not necessarily cyberbullying. Cyberbullying falls more under the umbrella term of Digital Citizenship, and certainly is something we need to be aware of and, as you state above, learn how to deal with. But for this week, we want to focus on the digital you – and how important that is and will continue to be.

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