The need for educators to teach Digital Citizenship is essential. School students need to know that they leave digital footprints. There are five points below to consider when teaching Digital Citizenship.
1. Future employers
Data that you publish online, will be archived on the internet for years and will be accessible to future employers, even after it has been deleted. Those seeking job opportunities have been turned down as a result of something they wrote on Facebook or presented on the internet, according to the BBC. Once something goes up on Youtube, it can potentially go viral, meaning that it can be shared many times and there is no possible way to retrieve it again. These are serious implications that need to be considered with regards to future employment.
2. Future relationships
Yes, you may have broken up with your boyfriend, but are you going to work with him in a critical work relationship one day? Burning bridges within a public forum, may not serve you well in the future.
3. Keep yourself and other safe
Just like getting a driver's license, students need to be educated on how to roam the internet safely, to protect themselves and others. There is nothing wrong with sharing a good video clip on Youtube, provided you will still be happy with people viewing it in ten or twenty years time.
4. Facebook photos are never private
Even when you list a photo as private it may be shared between your friends and from there it can easily fall into the public domain. Nothing stops your friends from downloading the images and using it against you as a joke later on. Also watch the photos that others are taking of you at social gatherings that will no doubt appear on Facebook and possibly even be taken out of context. It is always good manners to ask, "May I take a photo of you?" and "May I put this photo of you up on Facebook?"
5. Ask yourself good questions
A good way to decide on whether or not one should share something online is the use of questions before publishing like, "Will this affect me positively or negatively in the future?" or "Does it show respect towards others and for myself?" or " Would I be happy if my teachers, parents and friends read this?"
What would you do as a teacher or parent when your student or child starts a social media hate trail? Do you start censoring them or using it for a teachable moment? C/Net reports a story about a student who used a twitter hashtag to complain about his teacher, "Teacher projects student's antiteacher tweets in class". The teacher finds out and decides to give a bit of "tit-for-tat" by posting the tweets up in front of the whole class. How does one respond to these outbursts from students and how do educators and parents teach children to be responsible with their social media freedoms?
Teachers, parents and students need to work together collaboratively in critical dialogue to discuss the implications of social media within their school communities in the future. Educators will need to think about how they will educate students towards responding appropriately in these forums and how they, as responsible educators and parents, might respond to the challenges and benefits of social media in the future.