If 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.
Many parents and educators observe children (their own and friends’ kids — under age 13) using Facebook or Google+ and sometimes both. In the connected world, these social media sites are fun to use, and staying connected with friends and other people has never been easier.
While the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) sets 13 as the legal age for users of these two social media sites, many adults don’t know about COPPA or don’t believe it is sensible enough to apply and enforce with their younger children. Thus many kids start using Google+ and Facebook at ages well below age 13.
One significant difference between the two social media sites is the way users handle friends and contacts. On Google+ a user cannot add a contact without putting the person into at least one circle (Google’s term for groups). A circle is a category that is set up and defined with certain characteristics — friends, school friends, work friends, business contacts, etc. When a Google+ user sends out a status update, he or she specifies the group or groups that will receive the updates — clear and easy for users to figure out right away. Continue reading →
The other day a parent asked me to review the steps for embedding a YouTube video on a blog or in PowerPoint. It’s easy to do. It’s also useful for parents to know a bit about using videos because, in the coming years, your child will likely be using YouTube videos as a part of reports and presentations.
As an example I am using the Mayo Clinic’s video guide to social media. Mayo produced this in-house movie to serve as a teaching tool for members of the medical community, informing staff about social media user responsibilities. The video is a model for any organization that wants to help employees learn more about using social media as well as other digital issues in professional life.
Once you discover a YouTube video that you want to share or embed and know where you want to put it (blogs, PowerPoint, etc.), scroll down so you can see the words just below the video. Click on the word share.
So 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.