Digital Footprint & Reputation is April’s Theme

digi_footprintHave you ever walked on a sandy beach or a muddy trail, turned around only to see your footprints clearly left behind? The same thing happens when you enter the web world but the difference is your online activity can leave a permanent trail… a digital footprint that is a reflection of who you are. As every digital citizen has a significant amount of control over what is shared and how it is shared, what kind of footprint do you want to create as you walk in your daily digital path?

Don’t sweat! Your digital presence and reputation is in your hands. Choose to build a positive online identity – one that truly represents the kind of person you want to be. Before you share, stop and think about the identity you are choosing to build and maintain, and reflect on how it will affect your reputation now and in the future. Take pride in your digital footprint at any age. People in all walks of life will respond well to a positive online representation of you whether you are 10 or 110! Click here for classroom activities. Visit our Digital Citizenship blog for additional information and resources.

Our Digital Citizenship Contest continues this month! Click here to learn more. Check out the great student work from our February and March winners too!

March is Internet Safety Education Focus

internet_safety_200x110Whenever we think of Digital Citizenship, ‘internet safety’ always seem to pop up as the first area of concern. While this may be true, we would like to consider that this topic is nothing more than offering our students opportunities to make critical choices with their behaviours (whether they are online or face-to-face).

One consideration for ‘internet safety’ is how we deal with our passwords. They are our gateway security to information. We use them to access many sites like banking, online documents, games (eg. Minecraft, Webkinz), or purchasing sites like Amazon and iTunes. At school we use passwords to log onto our computer accounts. How do you know a good password when you see one? Or are you the type that uses the simplest ones to aid your memory and share them with your friends? Click here for a classroom activity on password strengths. For the rest of digital citizenship activities, hop on over to our Digital Citizenship blog site and get a host of activities, including information for parents.

 

When We Communicate

Technologies have offered many opportunities to communicate. The internet is a source of information and social connections. What used to be held to a select few, can now be used to amplify your voice. This is unlike London, England’s Hyde Park “Speakers Corner“, but an instantaneous sharing to the world of anything you post. For example, social media was the place used to gather and share information on the recent west coast earthquake that rocked the lower mainland, not the usual news channels. Social media is now the most “go to” place for both news and for connecting with friends and family (near and far). For many, there is no dividing line.

The challenge of amplication is that the quickness of our fingers is speedier than the thoughtfulness of our thinking brain (pre-frontal cortex). Sometimes it helps to use a graphic as a visual cue reminder.  This is a quick way for students (and adults) to self assess whether they should or should not be posting content or consider the type of  content they are posting. The acronym “THINK” is an easy one to remember. (I think I see a rap in the future – any takers?)  Perhaps this can also be used as a conversation piece at home. Head on over to the Digital Citizenship blog for more.

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Last year, a Digital Youth Summit was hosted by MediaSmarts and ICTC where they asked teens for their ideas on how to make the online environment a better place for everyone. Their comments were part of this tip sheet, Be Respectful, Patient and Kind: How Youth are Building a Better World Online. Parents might consider using this as a discussion point at home.