Footprints (& filters) everywhere

With more and more people jumping on the social media bandwagon, I’m constantly thinking about people’s digital footprints and how it travels around the world (literally, ha!). I truly believe that part of our responsibility as educators is to help our kids understand what their footprint says about them now and years from now.

But how do we teach kids how to use these resources carefully? How do we help them understand the consequences of taking one bad “step” in the digital world? Classes? Warnings? (Dare I say it, but “filters?”)

I think a large part of educating our students on technology comes from the parents’ side.  Parents need to be on board with what their kids are doing online. However, I wonder how much of an issue access plays into account when trying to educate all on digital practices???  And again, then there is that “f” word I mentioned above that comes into play here, too.

Speaking of filters, I do NOT think that is an answer to solving the problems of kids accessing and posting “bad” content. The bottom line is that when they leave our classrooms, they are going to find ways around those “filters” anyway. And what happens then? We’ve tried to protect them by blocking all of the “bad” stuff and then there they are, faced with it right in front of them not knowing the effects their interaction with that content can have (and yet we wonder why they don’t understand how their footprint affects them!).

I don’t think there is an easy fix here (or is there?), but for some reason this topic — footprints and filters — has been on my mind a lot lately. I really stress safety and common sense to my kids during all of our digital endeavors and also let them know why it matters (in and outside of school).

Curious: how do others handle footprints and filters in their classrooms?

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