Tagged for life

Two weeks ago, the Herald Sun reported that the Victorian State government has developed a resource to address teenagers missing out on jobs due to inappropriate social media and digital footprints.

Youth Affairs Minister Ryan Smith is launching a fresh campaign urging young Victorians to re-address their social-media etiquette and remember that posts can last forever.

The Baillieu Government’s new push, to be launched today, has the theme, “It’s There for Life“. Students across Victoria will be warned on the dangers of sexting and social-media pitfalls in a bid to reduce the number of prospective employees hurt by their online presence.

 There is also a competition for students with prizes valued at $1500. Entries for the competition close on 14 April. Enter here.

Teaching children about digital footprints

Kathleen Morris, a progressive year 4 teacher at Leopold Primary School in Victoria has written an excellent blog post on teaching children about digital footprints. Kathleen explains:

So what do students need to know about digital footprints?

  • the internet is a public space with a large audience
  • digital footprints can be searched or shared
  • once online, things can be there forever
  • you should always think before you post online
  • you should keep certain personal details private
  • individuals can take control of their digital footprints
  • digital footprints can be helpful or harmful to reputations

Although aimed at a primary level, there is much for parents and students to learn here.

10 things students should know about their digital footprints

Teachhub, a site designed by teachers for teachers has published a list of 10 things children and young adults should know about digital citizenship.

These include:

  1. Prospective employers do social media searches for you and their opinions are swayed by what you’ve published
  2. Keep private information private
  3. Don’t say anything online you wouldn’t say in person.

Read the whole post here.

How civilised are we?

Seth Godin, author, public speaker and entrepreneur recently wrote a very interesting blog post entitled Civilisation. He talks about how we want to me more civilised, but don’t spend much time talking about it. He says

The people who create innovations, jobs, culture and art of all forms have a choice about where and how they do these things. And over and over, they choose to do it in a society that’s civilized, surrounded by people who provide them both safety and encouragement. I’m having trouble thinking of a nation (or even a city) that failed because it invested too much in taking care of its people and in creating a educated, civil society.

My take on this short and very readable post is that to live and thrive in a civilised society, it needs to be, as Godin says, a place of ‘safety and encouragement’. I believe this ties back to making a positive digital footprint where we don’t troll or abuse, but use the space to encourage others and in turn, be encouraged by others.

Personal branding in the age of Google

Although written three years ago, Seth Godin’s piece on personal branding in the age of Google is as relevant as ever. He details how a friend advertised for a housekeeper and what happened when said friend Googled all applicants….

Godin says

Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.

As always, excellent advice from Seth Godin.

The social media conversation you have to have

Mashable blog has published a post on how employers and colleges are rejecting applicants purely on their negative social media presence and digital footprint. They give tips to parents on how to have a conversation with their teenagers on cleaning up their digital footprint including:

  1. Investigate yourself – google your name and look at the results
  2. Create a positive profile
  3. Investigate Facebook apps.

Read the expanded sections here.

The rise of the ‘twitchfork’

Recently The Age published an article about how the ability to comment on websites anonymously has revealed a worrying trend.

“Does the net exaggerate our views, or are these views that people really hold? Either way, perhaps we can comfort ourselves with the idea that they are a tiny but vocal minority,” BBC reporter Richard Bacon wrote.

“Or maybe this is what we are really like. Perhaps our day-to-day social interactions are the artifice, and these forums expose a dreadful truth about human nature. Could it be that deep, deep down, we just aren’t very nice.” Read more.

Part of building a positive digital footprint is using real names when commenting. However, it is still an issue as to whether children and young adults should protect their privacy by commenting anonymously. It’s useful to remember that the ability to comment anonymously doesn’t give anyone the right to abuse either the privilege, the author or anyone else.

Google web safety tutorials

Kind of ironic, given yesterday’s iQ post about Google’s change in privacy policy, but Google have launched web safety tutorials that some parents, students and educators may find useful.

The ThinkB4U site contains videos and tutorials that guide users through a number of scenarios, ThinkB4U:

  • chat
  • share
  • act
  • multi task
  • respond
  • buy
  • search
  • send
  • step (developing and protecting a positive digital footprint)
  • text
Very useful tips for parents include:
  • it’s a lot more about humanity than technology
  • it does help to learn and use the social media tools your children love
  • just because it’s public doesn’t mean it’s worse
  • technology may have changed but values haven’t
  • critical thinking has never been more important or protective
ThinkB4U is really worth looking into.

Digital footprints matter

Either way, kids will have to learn that their digital footprint is born from the moment they start posting on each other’s walls and create their first online avatar. They’ll have to figure out that every YouTube video they upload will be a reflection of themselves as the public sees them. With guidance from parents and educators, they can figure out what the world knows about them via mindshift.kqed.org

This quote comes from an excellent article from on the Mind/Shift blog .

Facebook and social networks aren’t going away anytime soon, and the better parents understand this, the better they’ll be able to help their kids understand it too.

The irony here is that the fear doesn’t come from the traditional “stranger danger” but from how kids behave towards each other online.

Read the entire article here.