"Your digital footprint is your new resume."
Children and teenagers are increasingly spending time online. Digital communication is supplementing face-to-face encounters with friends. This online activity creates digital footprints.
Last Monday’s debate about digital footprint was presented by Rae, Funmilola vs Gertrude, and Kim. Both the agreeing and disagreeing teams did a fantastic job in presenting their topics. I believe that teachers and students need to comprehend the concept of a “digital footprint” because students spend so much time online both in class and at home. Students should be aware of how they are being tracked digitally and what data they are disclosing online. Teachers should encourage children to use the internet safely and keep them informed about what they are doing online.
A digital footprint represents a student’s digital identity. The information could show up when someone (schools, prospective employers) searches their name online. Students must realize that their online identities might have an impact on their real-world life. A student’s digital imprint could be used by schools, businesses, and law enforcement to assess their character. The digital footprint of a student can have a significant and long-term impact on their life. Encourage pupils to become aware of the risk they face every time they access the Internet. Digital footprints now play a role in people’s employment and educational opportunities (Black and Johnson, 2010). In this context not having a digital footprint can be as serious as having a badly managed one. One way to address this is for schools to explicitly teach students how to develop positive digital footprints that will help, rather than hinder, them in the future.
We as a teacher or educator should teach students (primary and secondary) age-related concepts about the internet and technology like we do with any curriculum. Like we do with math, we start with the foundations and gradually build our way up until we can figure out the sum of x. I understand that teachers already shoulder a great deal of responsibility, but data shows that because parental guidance is unequal across socioeconomic lines, school counsel is a student’s greatest chance to leave a positive digital legacy.(Buchanan, Southgate, Scevak & Smith, 2018) .As teachers we need to adjust our pedagogy to include responsible use of technology. We need to raise learners’ awareness of digital footprints and encourage them to make informed decisions about the content they create or share online. This should not be seen as an add-on to our existing syllabus but as a skill that can be taught while developing language.
As students develop, it is essential for them to understand the profile they create will shape their future – both socially and professionally.
I believe that teachers are the first to tell their students; when new students arrive on the first day of school, they are children when they enter and adults when they leave! Whether we as an educator teach 3rd grade or high school, it is evident that our students mature throughout their time in your classroom. The main concern is that at a young age, children do not have the cognitive development to understand the longevity of what they put online (Buchanan, 2016). Researchers query their lack of understanding of possible consequences including security, privacy, abuse, predators and bullying Likewise with cyberbullying, research indicates that if students receive resources from adults that show how to successfully tackle cyberbullying and just having open discussions about it could improve their confidence to seek help when they need to (Mareez & Petermann, 2012).
Digital citizenship is a topic that is essential in the modern world. We are trending towards a society where more people are more connected, and as such, it’s vital that we are all aware of our responsibilities and able to navigate our own digital lives. Teaching digital citizenship means understanding the key elements of the subject and helping learners reach that same level of awareness.
I believe that teachers and schools can help their students take an active role in the digital world, educating them on the dangers and obligations that come with using technology.
Digital footprints can be an asset or a liability for children. Building on their knowledge by giving them guidance in curating a positive online presence could go a long way to help children shape their future.