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