Back-to-School Digital Life Conversation Starters

b8dbf690fa0c8bea11_ahm6b34k7Check out an interesting graphic filled with back-to-school digital life conversation starters over at the Platform for Good website. You can also download a PDF with a larger image to post at home near a work area or on the refrigerator.

August and September are good months to think about family digital citizenship issues. Ask yourself and your kids questions such as:

  • How can we balance screen time with outside time?
  • How can we model best practices for one another?
  • How can we keep track of our digital footprints and our digital reputations?
  • Should we use one of the many digital contracts and agreements in our family?

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Digital Footprints — That’s What It’s All About

many footprintsIf you ask a current fifth grader, he or she might say that the only topic I know much about is digital footprints, because I talk to students about these tiny digital trails as often as possible. But here’s the conundrum. I don’t talk about the topic nearly enough.

Despite being a devoted device and technology geek, I remain concerned about the digital footprints that kids (and we adults) leave all over the web. And I worry especially about the apps that kids use — even when they set strong privacy settings. I want students to understand digital footprint issues so well that they become curators of the profiles that they create all over the virtual world — thinking carefully each time they decide to share and forward information.

Last year one of my early posts on this “class-on-a-blog” described how to begin a family digital footprint conversation by exploring Google Dashboard and noting how Google collects information about the tools that we use. To continue the discussion, you can also check out this digital footprint video from Harvard’s Berkman Center.

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Introduction to Digital Footprints Via Google Dashboard

dashboard footprintSo many of our daily activities leave multiple digital footprints, little records of our work and whereabouts. At a time when privacy is taken less seriously and more and more people make copies of what we do and say — whether friends or in some official capacity — digital footprints multiply quickly.

Phones, utilities, credit card purchases, cars, movie downloads, online purchases, and all of our social networking activities leave little bits of code — each recording some aspect of our activities. Many of these digital footprints are fairly obvious parts of daily life, easily accessible to us. Others, however, come from our association with people and web locations  — site registrations, tagged digital photos, and comments we leave here and there. Sometimes we don’t even think much about signing up for a site —  we just log in and then rarely use it again. We create a slew of less obvious digital and supposedly confidential footprints via our medical and bank records,and social security — in theory more private.

Check out this digital dossier video from Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

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