Learning is so different now compared to when I was in school. The teacher is no longer the base of knowledge, but just a conduit and facilitator along the route. The teacher no longer must be in a classroom or in a school. Students can learn without the teacher as well by using the internet, Alexa or Siri. The acquiring of information no longer relies on another person to be able to learn but can be acquired in so many innovative ways. While learning has evolved; it has also opened up many other dangerous paths for students and adults.
The introduction of the smartphone has provided so many new and exciting opportunities for learning and communicating, but also some underlying issues as well. A poll held by the Pew Research Center showed that 24% of teenagers go online ‘almost constantly’, which can cause many problems in how that time is being used online (Lenhart, 2015). Are these teenagers considering their digital footprint when they are online? We would hope they are, but many do not think this far ahead to make good decisions when it comes to their online activity and choices.
Everything we do online leaves a digital footprint whether it is positive or negative. Most would hope that they are leaving a positive footprint, but do you really know what kind of trail you are leaving behind? This footprint can be steered by something as simple as online shopping or posts on social media. There are many of us that do not even know what kind of digital footprint we have left and may find out the hard way. I decided to search for my name on Google to check my digital footprint. After searching, I was happy to see that all the content found was positive. There was nothing negative that showed up in the search. I had done a search like this before and was curious what had changed since my last search probably over five years ago. I was surprised by a few of the results. A few of the results were sites that found my name in an article or another type of media from old jobs before I started teaching. While none of it was negative, it was quite interesting to look at the older content that I had forgotten about and did not know would show up in an internet search.
On the Family Online Safety Institute’s (n.d.) site they list quite a few solid ways to help control your footprint or tattoo online. Checking privacy settings and reviewing your followers are, in my eyes, a couple of the key ways to make sure you are not leaving negative footprints for everyone to see. Students do not think about these two components until they are older and it is too late. It is the job of the parents and teachers to help students see what happens to their activity online. All of these aspects can be considered part of a person’s digital citizenship that they need to learn when they are young and before they have created a negative footprint that can not be undone.
Family Online Safety Institute (n.d.). Digital reputation checklist. Retrieved from https://www.fosi.org/good-digital-parenting/digital-reputation-checklist/
Lenhart, A. (2015, April 9). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Retreived from https://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/