Back in days a good physical/personal identity was everything that an individual would have focused on and they worked hard to maintain a reputed identity, which was the only thing that elevated their reputation in the society and social life, but today things have changed, we are living in a digital era and there is a need for us to maintain a reputed digital identity too,as in my fellow classmate Amy B, felt in her Blog post on digital Identity even I thought that this week blog post topic was simple, as I was active in social media (Facebook not twitter) I would share some of my experiences and only after a lot of thought I understood the importance of the topic and how our digital identity defines our physical identity or represents who we are in this digital era.
image via:Digital Identity
What is digital identity? Whether digital identity defines our physical identity ?Wikipedia Defines that a digital identity is information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organisation, application, or device , that means it is an online identity, and if we are defining our own digital identity according to, Binary Tattoo digital identity is a permanent collection of data about yourself that is available online. Let us mark the words PERMANENT, so the answer to my second question is yes our digital identity definitely defines our physical identity and represents who we are, We are very particular when it comes to our physical identity. We try to make ourselves presentable to the best of our knowledge, the way we dress, part our hair, the way we eat food or the way we speak to others and that reflects who we are and how other others see us and that in-return defines identity, where as our digital identity may actually be more important than our physical identity because when people are looking us or our work online they judge us based on the information which is available online about us. So we must be very careful when we portrait our self and our work online.
As a teacher I see a strong need to educate our students the importance of digital identity, they are sometimes so naive that they do not understand consequences of having a negative digital reputation. They are in a digital age where everything can be googled online and privacy has become a laughing stock, our students have a long way to go and have no idea that their reputation might be at stake, they may not comprehend the consequences of what is shared via internet. We must tailor them to leave behind an appropriate digital footprint so that it will nurture their growth. Social media bullying has become a serious problem today, the article at No bullying.com states that children were often bullied at school or in their neighborhood. But today, with the increased use of the Internet, children are now being bullied in all locations and at all times, the article sheds light on different area where children’s are bullied because of have a bad digital reputation or lack of knowledge about digital identity. So it is high time that we do something about it.
The question arises that how can we educate our students to be a positive contributors and responsible digital citizens which will ensure that they will have a positive digital identity. As Educators we can refer to a ISTE White Paper, Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity, Which will guide us to help students be more cautious of what they are doing online. The article poses five questions which teachers can use to teach students about online behavior and identity.
What information am I sharing?
How secure is it?
Whom am I sharing it with?
What am I leaving behind?
What are my rights?
I found another useful Article by Dawn McGuckin – Teaching Students about Their Digital Footprints, which I felt very effective to guide our students, in his article he describe several steps for creating a lesson plan that will aid in making the Internet a constructive tool for building a positive, online identity for our students.
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