Digital Footprints

The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. | TEDxNaperville



I am starting off my blog post about digital citizenship with a TEDTalk. I feel like this is a very powerful talk that has helped give my some perspective on technology today and how kids (and adults) interact with technology and the online world. As a whole are we thoughtful in our communication with others? How did we learn to connect to the digital world around us? What are our personal philosophies? Are we conscience of the examples we are setting for others?blog 2

I spent several hours on the internet last night researching digital citizenship. Amongst the numerous websites I visited the most common theme among these sites was to be “engaged ethically” to the world around us. To me ethics is a set of principles of right or moral conduct. I would say that the principal that I have for being engaged ethically with others comes from past experiences, things I learned from my parents, teachers, priest, relationships, personal reflection, etc. As I was thinking about the term “engaged ethically” it occurred to me that it is defined differently depending on your experiences or examples. I think that it is amazing that we can have our own unquiet definition, but I also feel that it is what separates how we represent ourselves online.

My ethical online language is reserved and private. I rarely share or post to the sites I am a part of. Yet some of my very best friends post about every moment that happens in their day. (Which to me is annoying) They are comfortable sharing details and personal opinions which I have to respect as part of who they are. Personally I will have conversations with my husband about how crazy I think they are about what they post but I do not attack them personally or through the digital world. Most of the time I am in disbelief about what has been posted. For example A Facebook friend posts weekly pictures of herself in a swim suit as part of her motivation to lose her extra weight this summer. She takes a selfie in a swim suit and posts it for the world to comment on. I hope that she has considered the risks that she is taking in doing this. As I was reading last night I started to think about her online language and how her examples interacting with social media affect her kids and how they communicate online. Very different from mine, but who is to say I am right?

I feel that they key to teaching digital citizenship is to talk about it all. The pros the cons, how different personalities see things differently, compassion, respect, humility, how our online footprints define us. I think that the word define is an important word for kids to learn. The way they connect to the world will define how others see them. It will affect their present and future lives. That the word “delete” in the online world means nothing.


Another Key term last night was awareness. Informing people that they may feel secure with the information they share but how is that information being used by others. I really enjoyed “Exploring a teen’s digital footprint in 6 clicks or less” I feel like message of the video is clear: there is a danger in divulging private information through social media. If students aren’t hearing this message at home then I feel that it is the responsibility of the school to teach students, to be a voice that promotes them to think before they post. Sadly I think that we are becoming programmed for instant feedback from others. (If my phone dings it takes conscious effort not to look at it and sometimes as a conscious adult this is hard for me).

In summary I feel more responsible to be better role model for my kids and future students about what digital citizenship means.








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