In my own experience, I was not exposed to the term “Digital Identity” until I entered high school. By then, cyber-bullying had become unfortunately very common, which led to many presentations about the dangers of postings certain things online. Now, technology has allowed people to ruin their careers, images, and identities, in just a matter of minutes.
As educators, I cannot stress enough how important it is to:
1. Be aware of the issues on social media
2. Address these issues to our students, and
3. To be a great role model through our own digital identities.
I have included various images from my own presence on social media, and the things that I have allowed everyone to see about me. I believe that certain accounts should be available for students to follow in order to be a strong example for them (ex. Twitter, WordPress, etc.). However, with that said, some accounts may be kept private, but should always consist of content that would be okay for my students to see (ex. Instagram, Facebook, etc.).
I also believe that the negative impacts that social media can have on students should be brought forward through class discussions, guest speakers, and professional videos. Jon Ronson talks about the dangers of social media and the effects that one post can have to a person on a Ted Talk. You can watch this video by clicking here. Monica Lewinsky also discusses these impacts through her own experiences. Monica’s speech is so impacting as she speaks of her experience after the media had transformed her life for the worst. You can watch her video by clicking here.
With that said, we need to teach our students how to properly create their digital identities. Our example is a start, but we also need to help them develop an image of themselves that is professional. Yes, professional… even if they are in grade 5. I say this because nothing leaves the internet, and one mistake can identify someone for the rest of their life.
All in all, the media can be a great place for networking, communicating, and learning. However, it can also be a place that destroys careers, relationships, and digital identities.