Digital Footprints and Digital Citizenship
Digital Footprint: A word used to describe the trail, traces, or “footprints” that people leave online
Digital life is both public and permanent. Everything we do online creates digital footprints that migrate and persist. Something that happens on the spur of the moment – a funny picture, an angry post – can resurface years later. And if we aren’t careful, our reputations can be harmed. In addition, a bad digital footprint can affect our future livelihood. Colleges now are checking the social media postings of potential students, and employers are doing the same for applicants. That’s why it is crucial that HISD and parents work together to ensure that our students are good digital citizens.
Digital Citizen: A person who use the Internet regularly and effectively
A good digital citizen is one who knows what is right and wrong, exhibits intelligent technology behavior, and makes good choices when using technology. Much as we want our kids to be good citizens in the real world, we want the same in the digital world. Characteristics of a good digital citizen include:
- Being confident and capable of using information communication technologies
- Using technology to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activities
- Developing and using critical thinking skills in cyberspace
- Using technology to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways
- Respecting the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world
- Contributing to and actively promoting the values of digital citizenship
Ensuring students understand the importance of good digital citizenship and the potential impact of a negative footprint requires the work of parents and educators. Here are some tips that both children and adults can use to maintain their digital footprint:
- Think long term. What seems fun today could have long-term consequences.
- Keep personal information private.
- Use privacy settings on your social network pages. Don’t use public posting.
- Protect your friends’ privacy as well as yours.
- Use the Golden Rule online – treat others the way you want to be treated.