What are the potential benefits of teaching children about digital citizenship at a young age? Teaching students about digital footprints will benefit them throughout their life and will prepare them for future employment. Thinking about and keeping our digital footprint in mind can feel very daunting because one may not want to share too much information or accidently share something online that is inappropriate. Research shows more and more employers are using social media to research/recruit prospective candidates to hire, this just adds more pressure to make sure that what we put out on the web is our best.
For some of us our digital footprint starts before we are born. For example, in the YouTube movie Digital Dossier Andy’s digital footprint started when his parents posted his sonogram picture. For children growing up in the digital age it may seem overwhelming to think about and check what they are about to share or put online because what they do may be looked at closely. It seems like a lot of pressure for students and adults. But because anyone can view online posts it is important to make sure students learn at a young age how to manage their digital footprint. To prepared students teachers, parents, and community leaders should discuss this with today’s youth. In her YouTube video, Digital Citizenship from a Business Perspective, Dr. Pam Lloyd discusses the fact that employers are starting to use social media to recruit candidates before they even know there is a job available. In a YouTube video posted by Steve Johnson, he reported that in June 2008 22% of employers used social networking sites to research prospective candidates and in 2009 it went up to 45%. More and more employers are using the web to research candidates, making it important that what we are sharing online is positive and spotlights our accomplishments appropriately. According to Careerbuilder.com (2013), employers who took a candidate out of the running for a job found:
50% posted an inappropriate photo
48% shared info about themselves drinking or using drugs.
30% had poor communication skills
28% made discriminatory comments related to ace, gender, religion, etc.
24% lied about qualifications
If there continues to be an increase in the use of social media to reduce candidate pools or recruit for jobs, it will be important to ensure students know how to portray themselves online. Today there is an increasing need for digital citizenship classes with an emphasis on student’s digital footprint. I believe this should be started at the elementary ages and continue throughout high school. Students must understand and should continually be reminded of the importance of their footprint. Due to increasing pressure for students to spotlight a positive digital footprint, there is a need for educators and parents to teach students this process and set the standards high. When students have the knowledge about how digital footprints work, they can then make choices to reflect what they want their digital footprint to reveal.
I believe that this information is very useful for educators as it shows relevance to real world situations. To better prepare for my students I will research websites and look for lesson plans online. I will show my students videos that reflect the importance of what they do online and how it can affect them and others to help them think before they put something online. I am currently creating a digital citizenship unit where I plan on spending time teaching my students about their digital footprints.
Careerbuilder.com (2013, June 27). More employers finding reasons not to hire candidates on social media, finds careerbuilder survey. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=6%2F26%2F2013&id=pr766&ed=12%2F31%2F2013
Digitalnatives (2008, August 13). Youth and media – digital dossier [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79IYZVYIVLA
Johnson, S. (2009, November 9). Digital footprints your new first impression [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZjmrJvL_eg
Lloyd, P. (2013, February 3). Digital citizenship from a business perspective [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiP2DLeyX3U&feature=youtu.be