Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Digital Footprint

At the beginning of every school year, students and parents are given a form outlining the rules of using school computers.  Reminders of what you can and can not do on school computers is talked about a lot during the school year, but there are still a lot of kids who forget that they have a "digital footprint" and that footprint is easy to find.  

In this day and age of everything being done online, the concept of not telling the world your business, is lost on many.  I have lost count of how many times I have been on Facebook and a "selfie" was posted and thought to myself "what are they thinking posting that online??" Now I understand free speech and expressing yourself, but ask yourself this, what are you REALLY trying to say by posting a picture of yourself just about totally naked.  Unless you are posting for PETA, there isn't a reason other than "LOOK AT ME!!!" Young adults don't fully grasp the idea that what you post online will STAY online FOREVER! I have heard kids say "but I deleted it so it is gone!" To that I say, not really gone!  In the short time you post something on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ALL your friends can see it and more importantly, SHARE IT!  You may have a change of heart and delete your post, but your friends can share the photo and their friends can share it, and it goes on and on until the whole school sees the picture.  Colleges and companies are now searching the internet to see what their applicants are posting online before deciding to accept/interview them.  

Parents:  Each year when the school form comes home, please remind you kids how important it is to be a good digital citizen. Throughout the year, our schools hold assemblies to talk about the pitfalls of doing these things, but I honestly think some kids just don't get it. Yes they have their whole life ahead of them, but the world is not as forgiving for mistakes. Don't let your kids become the next Anthony Weiner, or Geraldo Rivera.  Learn the different language that your kids are using when they are texting or on Facebook.  Do you know what idk means?  Go to this webiste to find a long list of codes that kids are using to try and keep their parents unaware of what they are doing online. http://www.safesurfingkids.com/chat_room_internet_acronyms.htm

Don't think that your child won't do it, they can and most of them will try to do it. Talk with your kid(s) and make sure they are being good digital citizens.  Let that be what stays with them as they grow, not that there is a picture out there for the world to see.