Year 10 – The Digital Natives alerts our new Senior School members to the benefits and pitfalls of Social Networking, and starts to examine the need for a positive digital profile
When completing these activities and thinking about the concepts, students should strive for clarity. Be accurate in both your written and verbal communication techniques. Avoid exaggeration, deletions and distortions. People can get the wrong idea from posts, messages and emails, so be clear and concise. Emoticons help to convey your message clearly. This also means using only positive communications and staying clear of negative interactions online.
It is important for all users of the internet to use the online world in the spirit in which it was conceived and has grown – sharing positive resources and experiences. The internet is a public space and belongs to everyone. What you do when you think no one is watching, and you are alone on the internet, really goes a long way to defining you as a person.
“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”
- View acceptance and belonging as extremely important as you build your identity
- Are very concerned about your appearance and have a heightened level of self-consciousness
- Are very sensitive and easily humiliated
- Use the internet to seek deeper relationships
- Have moved away from your parents in an emotional sense
- Are embarrassed by your family members
- Are developing an experimentation streak
- Demand privacy
- Behave positively around adults and authority figures, but change their behaviour when with friends or alone
The internet offers a variety of different ways to interact – messaging, email, blogs, social networking sites, chat rooms, online games, webcams, posting images and videos, and ‘Skyping’.
Due to our desire to belong and be cool, mixed with development stage of our brain, we sometimes make poor decisions in these environments.
This video illustrates this point:
- It can be seen by MILLIONS of people
- It can be saved by MILLIONS of people to be viewed at any time
- Future friends, partners, principals, teachers and employers can see the offending materials
- You can be arrested, sued or go to jail
- Someone can take offence and hurt you physically
- Someone can steal your identity or your details and have access to your accounts
These things happen everyday. It is up to you to protect yourself. Be clear in your communications and think before you click.
What are some ways to clarify your tone when communicating online? 🙂
The dos and don’ts of the internet are explained here:
Here are some good tips to remember to keep safe when using the internet, courtesy of the ACMA CyberSmart initiative:
- Set your profile to private
- Limit your friend list
- Don’t friend randoms
- Remove flirty photos and nicknames
- Remove mobile phone numbers
- Remove suburb/town if you have added your surname
- What happens online affects you in the real world—protect your digital reputation
- Your personal details are valuable—don’t share them without a good reason
- Spams and scams exist – look out for fakes
- Update your security and use pop-up blockers
- Stop before you click – do you know where you’re heading?
- Treat your phone as your wallet—don’t give strangers access to it!
- Maintain a balance in your life between offline and online
- Stop and think before you check in – geo-locators tell strangers where you are
- When you share online you may be sharing with people you do not know
Your digital footprint is what you do online—data is collected when you share information online but also when you enter your contact details, post photos or post a blog.
Think before you post. Think before you send.
What information will you share and who will you share with? Are they really who they say they are? Do you have a story about online identity fraud?
Configuring your settings on popular sites like Facebook can help you stay safe online. Click here to view some general settings as recommended by Connect Safely.
Facebook also has some guidance about playing it safe for teenagers. The screenshot below shows the Privacy Settings page.
This video on Facebook Dos and Don’ts has some great tips:
How much is too much? When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is more is an article about your personal computer settings and how to configure things like your web browser to heighten your security.
It might be cool to have 400 friends on Facebook, but how many of them do you actually know? 750 followers on Twitter might be great for your self esteem, but how do those followers reflect on your ‘brand’? Watch this video about ‘Friends’ to reflect on what you are showing your ‘friends’ over the internet:
The bottom line is, you don’t know who you are ‘friending’ unless they are who they say they are and you have actually met them in real life.
Social Networking has rules and etiquette that help make it safe to participate. These rules are universal and really reflect etiquette we need to practise in real life. This short video outlines them well:
If a young student was about to enter the world of Social Networking, what are some words of wisdom you would give them?
So, don’t assume that you are talking to the person in the profile. The person at the other end could have very nasty intentions. If you are unsure about them, block them or ask for some evidence about their identity. NEVER go alone to meet with someone from the internet. This video highlights what could be happening:
Relationships online should reflect relationships in real life. Situations can escalate online when people forget that they are interacting with real people who have feelings. This poster outlines the differences between Healthy and Unhealthy relationships, which apply directly to online behaviour as well.
As you know, anything posted online can potentially be accessed forever. If you put an unflattering or antisocial image of yourself on Facebook, send a compromising image of yourself to your partner, or upload a YouTube video of yourself in a drunken stupor, that digital artifact may pop up when you least expect it.
Think about this (from the ACMA):
You have to protect your reputation online.
Your online information may be permanently seen by people you don’t know.
You are not anonymous online, even if you are password-protected.
Once online, it could be there forever.
When you share online you may be sharing with people you do not know.
Have you Googled your name lately? As you get older, traces of your digital life end up all over the web images, videos, posts. If you are the type of person who has a negative digital footprint, than can be easily viewed and assumptions made about your character and lifestyle.
If someone takes a photo or video of you that you don’t want others to see, you have every right to demand that the content is not posted, shared or uploaded. Be vigilant – there are instances where someone’s image has ended up on Facebook, is tagged via facial recognition and shared with the public.
Your digital footprint can affect you in the future. How? Watch this video to find out:
So, employers ARE checking you out online. If you put your life on the internet, and it doesn’t show you in a good light, potential employers will find out. That might not be such a big deal when you are 15, but when you have completed 4 years of university, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, and you can’t get a job in your chosen profession, the implications are huge. Watch this video to get the point:
You need to take control of your digital identity to ensure that any data about you on the internet or in a digital format (images and videos) is positive and depicts you in a good light.
🙂 Keep your social Facebook posts and images private and only allow the public to view content that shows your good characteristics
🙂 Do not become friends with or follow people who post negative or inappropriate content, otherwise you are guilty by association
🙂 Block unwanted or unnecessary friend requests or followers
🙂 Let the internet to work for you by creating a positive online presence via tools like LinkedIn, YouTube, Fickr, Twitter and Facebook
🙂 Start blogging about your interests and make sure that you embed positive metadata into your pages
🙂 Be strict about the images and content that other people post which include your name or image. You have the right to ask others to remove content about you that you don’t endorse or allow. Involve the police if necessary
🙂 Take steps to remove unwanted data from the internet and investigate how to engage reputation management
🙂 Remember that what may be acceptable to you is probably not acceptable to an older potential employer or university dean. Tailor your online identity so that it is relevant to all demographics. Ask an older friend or relative to spend an hour investigating your online presence and get their feedback.
🙂 Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation – everyone makes a typo from time to time, but systematic misuse of the English language does not reflect well on you and you ability to communicate effectively. Keep the LOLs and ROFLs in check and confined to your social interactions
🙂 Watch your online commentary. Even anonymous or innocuous comments can be traced back to you and be interpreted as breach of work or privacy conditions. Complaining about your boss on Facebook is a recipe for unemployment!
🙂 Think before you post! Will this damage my name and character in the future? You are not 15 forever.
🙂 Proactively develop a positive Digital Dossier (see the video below)