Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, civility, digital footprints, digital parenting, parents and technology, personal data, privacy

Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying

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A student’s final project.

For years, when I taught seminars in digital citizenship to third, fourth, and fifth graders, the primary topic was always digital footprints. Oh, we discussed and worked on lots of other 21st Century connected-world issues, civility, for instance, but everything seemed to wend its way back to those always-proliferating digital footprints.

We watched and rewatched my favorite digital dossier video from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. The students kept diaries and also asked their parents to do so. They found an online calculator to explore and considered how their permanent digital footprints might look a few years down the road. We made a list of all the potential places that might collect digital footprints, one year creating a list that started at the ceiling, went all the way to the floor and then back up to the ceiling again.

My students were always amazed at the size of their digital dossiers which included, in addition to email, apps, social media, and websites, a range of digital markings that they never considered such as credit cards, license plates, grocery store purchases, EZ pass travel, Amazon purchases, app downloads, and so much more. So when the time came for a final project — more than half or each fifth-grade class chose to concentrate on a digital footprint topic. Two of their posters are shared here. Continue reading “Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital footprints, digital life, family conversations, parents and technology

Parents: Discover Your Digital Footprints & Teach Your Children Well

Yes, once again it’s summer! To celebrate the season I’m writing specifically for the parents of digital kids — suggesting ways that parents can use this more relaxed time of year to learn more about their own digital footprints.

summer digital projects

While some of the activities are similar to those in a post from last year, this beginning-of-the-summer blog post aims to help parents gain a greater understanding of digital footprints for themselves — and then share this increased knowledge in conversations with their children. The longer-term goal, of course, is to ensure that each child returns to school in the fall with more knowledge about the family’s digital profile, their own digital footprints, and privacy.

Below are some suggestions to help parents get started learning.

  • Log in and visit your Google dashboard.
    Log in and visit your Google dashboard.

    Google yourself. See what digital footprints others see when they Google your name or your email address. Then go to the Dashboard, while you are logged in, and see how Google keeps track of your activities. Dashboard notes everything a person does on Google — from email to images to alerts to searches and much more. Once you finish up learning about your own digital trail, organize a family digital footprint party and help every member of the family go through the same steps.

Continue reading “Parents: Discover Your Digital Footprints & Teach Your Children Well”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital footprints, digital parenting, kids and privacy, privacy

Privacy Matters So Talk With Kids About It

Privacy spiral
Created with Festisite

After recent news reports about the National Security Agency (NSA) and its data collecting, we adults are thinking much more about the lack of privacy in our lives. We need to remember, however, that including children and adolescents in the conversation is important if they are to become competent and confident digital citizens.

With our online profiles, social media accounts, mobile devices, and files saved to the cloud, almost no one doubts that we have less privacy; however, what is an ideological or big discussion issue for adults is far more complicated and abstract for children. For most adults the sentinel issue — how much data collection intrudes on a family’s or individual’s personal life — is a primary focus. The issue for children, on the other hand, is that without a basic understanding of privacy concepts they lack the information and the skills that they need to recognize and avoid potential problems.

Many years ago my parents designated important topics for dinner table conversations — broad subjects that we recycled again and again as the four of us shared family meals. When one or the other parent said, “We should talk about that at dinner,” my brother and I knew it was something that Mom and Dad wanted us to take seriously.

Today children and adolescents need to experience this same type of dinner table conversation to help them learn about privacy and develop strategies for maintaining as much of it as possible.   Continue reading “Privacy Matters So Talk With Kids About It”

Posted in digital citizenship, digital parenting, leaving comments online, parents and technology

The 10 Commandments of Commenting — Positively Rephrased

You may also want to read my post, Conversations on Commenting.

A Few Etiquette Pointers Rewritten for Students and Their Parents
(or The 10 Commandments of Commentingpositively rephrased.)

  1. All comments leave digital footprints — any comment posted at a website will be accessible for years.
  2. Be specific and demonstrate with your comment that you have a genuine interest in the topic.
  3. If you disagree, that’s fine, but include at least a bit of constructive criticism.
  4. You may share something about yourself, but avoid blatant self-promotion.
  5. Stay on topic. Brevity is good.
  6. The quality of your language counts. Do you want your digital footprints to include obscene and foul language or rude and disrespectful information?
  7. If you just want to say you like the post or article, use the like or share link.
  8. A comment is a piece of writing and the comment writer is the author.
  9. Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 2.59.00 PMAll of the comments that you leave will become a part of your digital dossier.
  10. It’s your writing. What conclusions will people draw about you when they read your comment?

If you want to use a copy of this post, click on the image at right to download the PDF. Instructions for attribution are on the document.