Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, data collecting, digital footprints, digital life

Talking about Privacy & Digital Footprints In Grades 7-12

footpathOver the past couple of years, I’ve heard middle and high school kids say that they are sick-and-tired of hearing about their digital footprints — with many exclaiming that they already know what they need to know. My thought? They understand how they make digital footprints, but they don’t always make good decisions when it comes to avoiding the not-so-good digital trails.

What older students — those in late middle and high school — need is a reframed conversation, one that does not focus exclusively on what they do, focusing instead on the broad and complex issue of 21st Century privacy. Continue reading “Talking about Privacy & Digital Footprints In Grades 7-12”

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 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, data collecting, digital footprings, digital footprints, parent child conversations, parents and technology, searching

Google Dashboard: A Connected-World Teaching Tool for All Ages

A screen show from the Google Dashboard.
A screenshot from the Google Dashboard.

If you use Google, take a few minutes to check out the Google Dashboard and look over a detailed digital footprint snapshot of your Google activities. Learning about digital footprints is an important 21st Century connected-world skill.

The Dashboard keeps track of everything — and I mean everything — that you do on Google. It’s a dynamic digital footprint collection. To sign in and examine your Gmail or Google Alerts is easy, and you can also check out the other features offered by Google such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Blogger, or Google Reader (many more Google products are available and new ones become available on a regular basis).

Google Dashboard is an awesome connected-world teaching tool for 21st Century children at any age and for adults, because it makes a point — concretely — about the amount of information that Google accumulates on each of us. Many people are surprised, and a bit disconcerted, on a first visit, because the Dashboard depicts a good deal about each user.

Continue reading “Google Dashboard: A Connected-World Teaching Tool for All Ages”

Posted in digital footprints, digital kids, family conversations, parent child conversations, parents and technology

How Many Digital Footprints Does Your Family Make?

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.12.51 PMHave you ever thought long enough about digital footprints to imagine how many digital tracks family members or students make in a day or two?

Early in the school year fifth graders and their parents kept a short diary, estimating the footprints in a range of categories and then returned to school with the results. Footprints were estimated for sending texts, banking, receiving texts, purchasing groceries, cell phone calls, online banking, web sites, online purchases, and about a dozen more categories.

Continue reading “How Many Digital Footprints Does Your Family Make?”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, apps, digital kids, parents and technology, sexting, sharing media

Needed: Ongoing Social Media Conversations About Image Sharing

using smartponesIf your children are using or begging to use  InstagramSnapchat, Vineor the many other apps on their digital devices that share media, it’s time to get serious about conversations on social media and image sharing. Moreover, many other digital device apps exist or suddenly appear that also encourage sharing. (Check out my post that demonstrates just how apps multiply and catch on with kids.)

Sharing apps make users, especially young people, feel like they can have and keep secrets with their friends. Children, and adults, too, like the apps because they claim to offer a modicum privacy and because any media that they share will self-destruct within a few seconds. Voilà – it’s disappeared!

Continue reading “Needed: Ongoing Social Media Conversations About Image Sharing”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, curating digital footprints, digital footprints, digital kids, parents and technology

Resolution 2015: Focus on Family Members’ Digital Footprints

Digital Footprint Venn Diagram Project
Student Digital Footprint Venn Diagram Project

Digital footprints — those small bits of digital information collected and compiled on each individual — can portray a person in all sorts of ways. Everything we do on the web or with when we interact with other connected sites is saved somewhere. We may think first of email, texts, social media, and web searches, but our information gets collected when we shop, travel, drive, make mobile phone calls, and even when we buy groceries.

Below are a few links that can help parents and educators think about managing and curating digital footprints. Everyone, child and adult, has a digital footprint profile.

Posted in 21st Century parenting, curating digital footprints, digital footprints, digital kids, parents and technology

Calculate Your Digital Footprints: Then Curate Them

I’ve written before about the need for all of us — 21st Century kids and parents — to understand just how many digital footprints we create during a single day — from email and texts to social media entries to credit card purchases to travel to smartphones and smart cards of all sorts, and much more. Each year, when my fifth graders keep a family diary on paper, just for a day, they watch in amazement as the digital footprints add up.

It’s fun to use an old-fashioned paper diary, but a few other online resources are available to help individuals and families learn more and get a sense of just how fast our digital footprints accumulate. Check them out, and you, too, will be amazed.

EMC offers a digital footprint estimate and offers a calculator to keep counting.
EMC offers a digital footprint estimate and offers a calculator to keep counting.

— EMC, a company that builds network infrastructures for businesses, offers a digital footprint calculator, downloadable for Mac or PC. The calculator is a mini-program. After it’s installed it asks a user a series of questions — the answers are not saved — and then it begins to speedily calculate that person’s footprints. Once an individual fills in all of the blanks, the program calculates how many megabytes of digital footprints accumulate, and it offers a small calculator that keeps track over a period of time. You can watch the number increase moment-by-moment.

Continue reading “Calculate Your Digital Footprints: Then Curate Them”