When I first read our topic for the week I thought this is simple, I will just discuss my personal online activity, or lack thereof. After some research I learned that I did not fully know what the term digital identity actually meant. Techopedia defines a digital identity as “an online or networked identity adopted or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device”. Techopedia continues that your digital identity is composed of your: username and password, date of birth, online shopping history and browsing history. Basically, all of the information you post, enter or view online.
In the Forbes article, Moving from Static Identity to Digital Identity Garrett Gafke highlights the importance of moving away from a static to a digital identity. He mentions how companies retain customer static information in their databases for information and marketing purposes. These systems are vulnerable to privacy breaches and that information being stolen. He suggests that although static and digital identities share some similarities, the digital identity is ever changing, and may make identity theft more difficult.
As a teacher I see the importance of educating students about their digital identities for both their safety and future selves. My colleague Dani shares her experiences with a classroom Facebook page in an elementary classroom. She is helping the students shape their digital identities by adding their own photos and taking turns deciding what to post. To ensure safety of her student she provides a permission form for parents/ guardians to sign to allow their students image to be posted online.
To educate older students about their online presence I found this lesson from The Open University – My digital identity: making a good impression online. This straightforward interactive lesson could easily be used for middle years or even at the grade nine level. There is also a PDF version available.
What are some ways teachers can teach or encourage students to be cognizant of their digital identities? What are some positive examples of how a digital identity has affected you or someone you know?