Digital Identities and the Youth

In a recent presentation I did, I spoke about digital citizenship to parents, teachers, and administrators alike. In it, I highlighted several articles and videos; everything from a discussion by administrators about what 21st Century Skills are and why they’re important, to the internet myth about 1 in every 5 students being sexually solicited via social media by predators. These are important topics to discuss when it relates to teaching our youth about Digital Citizenship, as I believe all schools should. Everyone should teach our youth about digital citizenship, and it should be taught to them as soon as they have the capacity to interface with the digital world. As soon as they understand how to create and contribute to the online community, they should be informed about the implications of those actions and guided through the mess.

I can’t remember when my parents gave me the talk about my digital footprint – primarily because it didn’t happen! In school, I remember going through programs and computer games teaching me where to place my fingers on the keyboard, but never do I remember a lesson on where to put my thoughts on the internet – or whether or not I should. By the time a good friend tipped me off about “Googling” myself, my digital dossier was already well underway, and littered with things I didn’t even know were out there about me.

Check out this Prezi by Vicki Davis on Enlightened Digital Citizenship:

I believe the discussion should start early. Exactly how early I don’t quite know, although based on this articulation by a third grader, I would say that it should probably happen by then, if not sooner. By middle school, students should be knowledgeable about how to create and contribute to the online community and should be discussing¬† the implications of their actions. Students need to understand the future they are creating in the present. By high school, students should be collaborating and forming their digital identities with great intentionality, both in terms of their own presence as well as their greater cultural and global community through technology.


4 thoughts on “Digital Identities and the Youth

  1. Great Post,

    I would have to agree talking to kids about digital citizenship is very important. It should be right up there with learning math. I even think they should have it as a class in schools. Technology is becoming such a big part of how we operate kids should know how to use it. My four year old niece teaches me things about the computer. Great Post and I will share this information with my sister who has kids



  2. Interesting conversation about digital articulation and youth. It’s become a focus of my current relationship with my niece and goddaughter. She’s obsessed with cell phones at two years old. Obviously the visual lights and effects of a touch screen are stimulating to her, but she’s quickly learning to navigate the interface. It’s fascinating and terrifying at the same time.


  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. The younger generations know more about computers and technology than we will, and we know more than the generations that have come before us. We rely on technology more and more each and every day, and each day, some form of previously used technology becomes obsolete. I think that in today’s world, many people (not just youths), do not understand how your life can be impacted by what occurs online. This is true for individuals, but for companies as well. Understanding and managing your digital footprint can be very important for maintaining the image that you want to portray. Controlling who can see your posts is just part of the job; it is just as important that you consider what is being said as well. In the Tao of Twitter book, it is discussed how posting personal opinions from a professional page could potentially have a damaging effective if these viewpoints are not in line with the company’s (or customers’) values. The scary thought is that when a mistake of this type occurs, it can be seen and shared instantaneously, making it almost impossible for people to forget it or overlook it. And of course as you mentioned, there can be much more severe (and potentially dangerous) consequences for individuals that do not effectively manage their digital footprint.


  4. Wow, this blog was very informative as well as mind blowing. I didn’t get a talk with my parents because there was not issues like this when I was growing up. I have had many talks with my children but showing them the right way with example may have been better. It very scary as parent these days not know what your children are doing when they are not around you maybe at school or at a friends house, so I lot trust needs to be there so nothing bad never happens to them. Good information and I will be sharing to as many people as possible about this topic it needs to be talked about more.


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