Digital identity is an important topic to discuss within the community, the schools and at home. What we post online (intentionally or unintentionally) can either have positive or long term negative effects on one’s identity.
When reflecting on the history of my own digital identity past, I am thankful that I never had the constant and instant access to social media like my children will soon have in their teens. Growing up in the 70’s-90’s, I lived in a carefree time where I never had to worry about what social media posts to check, nor did I have to worry about email or even a cell phone. I communicated with my friends directly face to face, or chatted directly via rotary phone at night.
Does anyone remember cruising down Albert Street and visiting with friends on Friday nights? The way to communicate then, was to head to the 7 Eleven on Albert Street to find out who was having people over to watch a movie.
In high school for my English class (we did research) via the encyclopedia or books. It wasn’t until University where I began using the internet. Who remembers ICQ? Or MSN messenger? That was always fun to instant message friends and check on their responses. Or instead of heading to HMV I was able to access “free” music via friends who used Naspter….which was technically not legal.
Who remembers renting a movie? Roaming around Blockbuster on a Friday night to find a CD / VCR tape of movies. Those were the days! Now I can access any movie via Netflix or record my favorite shows via our digital recorder.
To this present day, I am an avid user of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. Instead of calling people, I find myself sending text messages to friends and family. For the past few years, I have been playing with technology in education by using Skype Classroom with my students where they are able to connect with other countries who speak Spanish / French. Recently, I have been using Google Classroom where my students can access assignments & I can give direct feedback on their work.
Presently and for the future, I am hesitant to share everything online. I now regret that I may have shared too much on social media such as my own personal family pictures and memories. Have I shared too much about my family? Have I posted too many pictures? Is it fair to my own children that I posted so many pictures of their childhood? I personally regret that I may have shared too much of my family and of my own identity online……something that is hard to take back and delete now.
As an educator & mother, it’s important that we help our students / my own children to develop a positive footprint. We also have to remember that we have social media personas that we display.
I worry about my children’s digital identities and how things may change for them in the future. I do not want them getting lost in social media. I do not want them to share too much online. But at the same time, I want them to understand that the digital age can be beneficial but with prudence and guidance.
This is all truly a reminder that what we do online, cannot be forgotten.