Digital Identities and Digital Security

Leading on from my last post I started to hint at the fact that digital technologies aren’t without danger and exploitation’s. Children may excel at using technology and digital devices much faster than adults but they are still effectively children. Meaning that the content that they are accessing and using needs to filtered and monitored accordingly.

The digital world lets you build a completely different identity to the one you have in the everyday “face to face” world. You can become whatever you want to be. While a liberating experience for some used in a non-threatening way, it can also lead to deceit and wrong doing. With a crazy statistic of 97% Australian children aged 8-17 spend at the minimum an hour a day on the internet (ABS 2011) means that this rapid increase in usage and exposure to unrestricted information is a difficult thing to oversee and manage.

Children love social networking, whether it’s through, Facebook, Twitter, email or text messaging it the crux of most adolescent’s worlds. Cyber bullying is harassment of someone or a group of people using these mediums. While the effects of Cyber bullying are the same as normal bullying it occurs anonymously via the digital identity and can spread “virally” at great speed (Woolfolk and Margetts 2013). Both Teachers and parents need to recognize Cyber bullying as a legitimate form of harassment and take steps to ensure children are safe when using the internet and social media- an enormously huge task as you can’t even begin to monitor all of a child’s internet use.

Children may not yet have the social competence to acknowledge the fact someone is lying to them, trying to cheat them or obtain personal information like addresses, bank account details etc. Having teachers and parents who can help educate students on safe computer use is a must.

Below are some links to helpful sites. The You Tube video of comedian Miranda Sings and her combat against the “Haters” went viral and sends a very upbeat message for young people, as she points out online bullies for her own material.

www.cyberbully.org

www.cybersmart.gov.au

Miranda sings – Haters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XrfMs-G2hw

References:

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2011a). Australian social trends, June 2011: Children of the digital revolution (Cat. No.4102.0) Retrieved from: www.abs.gov.au

Howell, J. (2012) Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity.  Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Woolfolk, A. & Margetts, K. (2013). Educational psychology. (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

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